MultiChoice has strongly criticised former communications minister Yunus Carrim, who on Tuesday told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture that a controversial 2013 channel supply agreement between MultiChoice and the SABC amounted to “policy capture”.
According to a report by Fin24, Carrim told the commission that the public broadcaster agreed to MultiChoice’s position not to encrypt digital broadcasting signals in the migration from analogue to digital.
Minutes of a meeting between the SABC and MultiChoice in June 2013, and published in 2017, revealed that executives from the pay-television operator pressured the public broadcaster to include a clause in a lucrative channel-supply agreement that would prevent it from carrying its free-to-air channels on a terrestrial platform that used encryption. At the time, MultiChoice was engaged in a high-stakes battle with rival e.tv over the issue.
In his Zondo Commission testimony, Carrim reportedly alleged that MultiChoice knew two months before he was fired as communications minister that he would be replaced by Faith Muthambi, a confidante of former President Jacob Zuma.
He also reportedly alleged that current MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela and former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng met to celebrate his impending exit as communications minister.
In a statement in response to Carrim’s testimony, MultiChoice said on Tuesday that it “noted” that the former minister “confirmed under oath in his submission to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that he cannot attest to having personal knowledge of any fraud or corruption in respect of the SABC/MultiChoice agreement”.
“Carrim’s allegations concerning MultiChoice and some of its officials are baseless. MultiChoice and its officials deny these allegations. We have informed the Zondo Commission that we will respond to the allegations made against us in due course and reserve all of our rights.” — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media