MultiChoice's internal probe rejected - EFF

Fighters says Naspers also never paid a price for it participation in apartheid govt's activities


Friday, December 1, 2017

The EFF rejects Multichoice's decision to conduct an internal probe into allegations of bribery by its executives to the Gupta family and Minister Muthambi by paying ANN7 more than it is required. A geniune probe must be conducted by an independent entity like a retired judge or a senior advocate. 

An independent and genuine probe however must not be done to deter attention of a full parliament enquiry on Muthambi and the influence of the Guptas on her decisions. Multichoice's probe, if genuinely conducted, would aid parliament's enquiry to ensure that Muthambi is held accountable for all her illegal decisions and the taking of bribes. Furthermore, all who will be found guilty of any wrongdoing within Multichoice will have to be met with the full might of the law. 

The true test of the Multichoice probe will also be determined by refusal to offer those found guilty within top management any golden handshakes. Whomsoever engages in illegal and criminal activities must be met with the full might of the law. 

Naspers ought to take full responsibility by making sure to put pressure on Multichoice to uproot state capture corruption within its ranks. The essence is that the ANN7 channel was used as a proxy for the Guptas to receive corrupt money from Multichoice. This is in exchange for political influence to stop competition against Multichoice on the encryption policy over DTT set-top boxes. 

The EFF believes that central attention must be placed on the monopoly domination of Multichoice which is white-owned. Its ability to enter into a corrupt relationship with the Gupta family is evidence of full complicity in State Capture. 

However, Multichoice's actions with the Guptas and ANN7 are consistent with those of its mother company NASPERS. It is no secret that what the Guptas are to Zuma and his government today, NASPERS was to the National Party and its apartheid government. Beyond giving an apology, Naspers never paid any price for its full participation in apartheid government activities. Instead, it formed Multichoice which continued a largely racially exclusive domination of the pay television sector. 

Multichoice, having been founded by Naspers is complicit in criminal and unethical business practices of bribing politicians to sustain not only its dominance but to advance yet another project of State Capture in democratic South Africa. By giving hundreds of millions to ANN7 in bribes, they directly funded state Capture in the same way Naspers did to apartheid. 

Revelations of bribery confirm long-held suspicions that their monopoly domination has been based on bribing politicians to advance and sustain their market power. 

There is, therefore, no resolving this issue without either transforming Multichoice ownership and profits to reflect the demographics of South Africa or availing its infrastructure to be used by other players as it was going to be the case with government set-top boxes. 

It will not be enough for Multichoice to simply hold an internal probe, punish bad potatoes, or pay fines for suppressing competition, and then still continue to be a white monopoly dominator. Whatever happens, a reasonable and genuine solution has to result in changing this reality to make sure that there are more players who benefit from our pay television sector. 

The biggest punishment for bribing Muthambi to change government policy on encryption must be more than a fine. Multichoice must open its own set-top devices infrastructure for black players in the pay television market. More so because having been established by Naspers, it was started with money made in protecting and advancing apartheid policies and government.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 1 December 2017