The Right2Know Campaign is deeply worried by recent media revelations of suspect correspondence between, and dodgy payments from, MultiChoice to SABC and ANN7.
R2K intends to lodge a complaint with the Public Protector and has written to Parliament’s Communications Committee to launch an inquiry.
It is insinuated that these payments from MultiChoice to Gupta-linked ANN7 and the SABC were intended as kickbacks to influence government policy on encryption of digital terrestrial television signals. At the centre of this appears to be Faith Muthambi who then presided over the Department of Communications, and who is alleged to have pursued MultiChoice’s market dominance agenda in concert with various Gupta associates.
This would suggest blatant corruption on the part of Multichoice and Faith Muthambi to advantage themselves in the disastrous roll-out of Digital TV, which has seriously undermined the public’s right to know.
If MultiChoice is innocent it should welcome the Parliament and the Public Protector’s probes. It should be noted, though, that this is not the first time there have been revelations of irregularities surrounding Digital TV and Set Top Boxes. Media reports have also linked Altech UEC and Mxolisi Saady Zuma, the president’s son, to Set Top Boxes procurement bribery. The Gupta family has sought to influence government policy on Digital TV in order to make money for their various businesses since 2012 when they invited Dina Pule, who was the Communication Minister then, to their house for canvassing. Right2know notes that the Department of Communication has to date not released the report of the investigation into alleged Set-Top Box corruption which was commissioned by the National Treasury and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
R2K has therefore written to Parliament’s Communications Committee calling for an urgent probe into the dealings between MultiChoice, Muthambi and the Guptas, and also will lodge a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector demanding an urgent probe. R2K demands that these probes be initiated immediately with the outcomes being publicised in three months.