Communications minister Dina Pule’s instruction in May 2012 that state-owned broadcasting signal distributor Sentech be the manager of the control system for digital terrestrial television may have indirectly benefited her alleged boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, a Sunday newspaper report says.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, the local partner of Europe’s Nagravision — Sentech’s chosen technology supplier of the control system — is a company run by a business partner of Mngqibisa’s.
Nagravision’s South African partner is AU Communications, which is headed by Mngqibisa’s business partner, Rudy Rashama, the newspaper says.
Pule’s decision to hand over management of the control system to Sentech prompted free-to-air broadcaster e.tv to take the decision on review to the high court in Johannesburg. Acting judge CG Pretorius ruled in December that Pule’s instruction was “unlawful”. Pule first said she’d appeal the court’s decision, but then withdrew the challenge saying she’d prefer a negotiated outcome so as not to delay South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital any further.
The control system, also known as the conditional access system, will be used, among other things, to stop government-subsidised set-top boxes, which consumers have to buy to receive digital television signals, from being sold outside South Africa.
Originally, the SABC and e.tv had been tasked with management of the control system. The two companies had picked NDS over Nagravision to supply the technology.
According to the Sunday Times, Mngqibisa and Rashama owned Khemano, the same company that won a contract to assist in the running of last year’s controversial ICT Indaba in Cape Town.
Rashama reportedly told the newspaper that he no longer had any links with Mngqibisa after resigning from Khemano shortly after after the ICT Indaba for “personal reasons”.
However, the report says Companies and Intellectual Property Commission database records show Rashama remains a director of Khemano Broadcasting. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media