South African pay-TV operator MultiChoice is launching an investigation into allegations of corruption in its dealings with the news channel ANN7. By Rebecca Hawkes
multichoice africa 5 Dec 2017News24 alleges the Naspers-owned pay-TV operator made "questionable" payments to the channel, then owned by the Gupta-family, which may have had undue influence on the decisions taken by the country's former communications ministers.
Last week the City Press also reported that MultiChoice was accused of paying ZAR100 million in bribes to SABC in exchange for the public's broadcaster "political influence over digital migration". MultiChoice has denied the allegations.
Some 6.6 million South African customers currently subscribe to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, with another 2.6 million subscribers elsewhere in Africa. Its digital terrestrial TV (DTT) service GOtv is also gaining ground, with 17% growth in its subscriber base in the six months to 30 September 2017.
Announcing the enquiry, Don Eriksson, independent non-executive director on the MultiChoice board of directors, said: "The board is aware that the ANN7 channel has caused real public concern because of the allegations of corruption levelled at the former owners of the channel. These allegations have negatively impacted the reputation of MultiChoice."
The board has instructed its audit and risk committees to assess whether there have been corporate government failures at MultiChoice, and whether the total amount paid to ANN7 is comparable to other locally produced channels.