Johannesburg - SA Communist Party secretary Blade Nzimande told delegates at the party’s special national congress on Wednesday that his life and that of treasurer Joyce Moloi-Moropa were in danger for criticising the deal between the SABC and Multichoice.
“My life and that of national treasurer are under threat, including physical threat for criticising the SABC…Why should we be forced into watching DSTV and its repeat programmes as the only private platform? The SABC has been engulfed into Multichoice and its monopoly, we have fought to liberate the SABC from the National Party, we must fight Naspers for its monopoly of private television,” Nzimande said to a loud applause from delegates.
Nzimande presented the SACP political report at the special congress, held at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus.
Naspers, which owns Media 24, is a shareholder at Multichoice. Nzimande accused Media 24’s City Press of being hellbent on investigating him because of his criticism of the SABC.
“We are going to fight to liberate the SABC from corporate culture and Naspers,” he said, in a strongly worded speech.
Pay television operator, Multichoice, concluded a deal with SABC to acquire rights to its 24-hour news channel and an entertainment channel. Multichoice would pay the SABC R100 million a year for a period of five years, in terms of the contract signed in 2013.
The deal has drawn criticism, with its opponents pointing out that Multichoice was consequently in control of SABC archives.
The entertainment channel, called SABC Encore flights programmes and shows from the 1980s and 1990s.
Nzimande turned on the media, and said one would rather watch Russian television for a global perspective than read local newspapers or watch international news channels such as the CNN and BBC.
“I do not even read international pages in local newspapers, none will tell you anything. The BBC and CNN flight international propaganda.”
“This is not an attack on the media, but a challenge… please inform us better.”
Nzimande has been vocal in calling for transformation of the media and its ownership. He has called for independent regulation of the print media industry, which he said, was self-regulatory.