Naspers can't investigate itself: Yunus Carrim - TechCentral

Naspers can’t investigate itself: Yunus Carrim

Former communications minister Yunus Carrim

Former communications minister Yunus Carrim has fired a broadside at Naspers and its chairman, Koos Bekker, saying the media group can’t investigate itself over allegations that it used commercial contracts to sway government policy on encryption of digital broadcasts.

“Naspers can’t investigate itself,” Carrim said in an interview with Gauteng radio station 702 on Monday. “The more Koos Bekker speaks, the more Naspers issues statements, the more MultiChoice does it, the deeper they dig themselves into a hole. I think they should accept that their behaviour, even it wasn’t illegal, was beyond what is normally the ethics of what would define a relationship between a company and politicians.”

Carrim’s comments come after Naspers’s board of Friday issued a statement decrying “persistent baiting” of the group “to intervene in the affairs of MultiChoice”.

“While some reporting is no doubt driven by an honourable wish to expose corruption, some of it is clearly intended to apply pressure on Naspers to force MultiChoice to take the news channel ANN7 off the air,” it said in the statement.

Questions have been raised about MultiChoice’s decision, revealed in the so-called “Gupta Leaks” e-mails to pay the Gupta-owned ANN7 a R25m advance and increase its annual payments to the news channel to R141m/year, from R50m previously.

Minutes of a meeting between the SABC and MultiChoice in June 2013 and published last week also 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.

‘Firmer framework’

Carrim said in his interview on 702 that parliament and government “need to look into providing a firmer framework for the relationship between business and politicians”. He said organised business, through Business Unity South Africa and other bodies, must reflect on how companies behave towards politicans. “Business and politicians need to come to some sort of understanding on how we relate to each other.”

The former minister said he has “absolutely no doubt” that both Naspers — “Mr Bekker in particular” — and MultiChoice “had a big hand in changing government policy (on) encryption”.

Koos Bekker

“I have no doubt that the clause that is in the MultiChoice/SABC agreement … was done to influence government policy via the public broadcaster. Secondly, whether the minutes of the meeting that Mr Bekker and Naspers refer to are legal or not is neither here nor there. The issue is, was it morally correct for business to exercise such huge sway on changing government policy? Thirdly, it’s not just through the SABC deal that Bekker and (former MultiChoice South Africa CEO Imtiaz) Patel … tried to influence government to change its policy. They did it in a variety of ways because they wanted no competition in this sector…”

In its statement on Friday, Naspers said the responsibility for dealing with the allegations lies with the MultiChoice board. “We have confidence in them handling the matter, following their governance procedures. Naspers is committed to strong governance and requires the same of its subsidiaries. Of course, once they’ve done that properly, they will report back to the Naspers board and the public.”  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media

  • Mike frm Newlands

    Other media sector controlled from the West are trying very hard to close alternative voice. We are tired of tautology from western controlled media. Leave other voices alone please. Soon and very soon we will hear Sanef expelling New Age or ANN7. They have done nothing illegal SO WHAT? SA is tired of Gupta and state capture tautology. It is becoming monotonous.

  • Neels

    It’s OK, Naarpers will get KPMG to do the investigation!

  • Nofearorfavor

    Wonder whether we’ll ever get to the dinkum truth — for that matter of anything– all the devil’s twists and turns and yet more turns and twists, in this fair land of ours…. money alone talks– integrity and loyalty to SA, died long, long ago. Betrayers all! — a wholesale cover up of thieves, stealing from thieves, which stole from them — a nest of iniquity which would even confuse the devil himself.

  • Hiren

    “The former minister said he has “absolutely no doubt” that both Naspers — “Mr Bekker in particular” — and MultiChoice “had a big hand in changing government policy (on) encryption”. – yep, and now the consumer will suffer.

  • Joe Elze

    Stay off the weed, its confusing your brains-if you have any, that is.