DA wants Muthambi, MultiChoice probed for state capture

2017-11-30 23:26
Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – The DA wants an inquiry into allegations of state capture relating to MultiChoice and Faith Muthambi during her time as communications minister.

Delivering a declaration on the Portfolio Committee on Communications' report on the appointment of Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) board members in the National Assembly on Thursday, DA MP Phumzile van Damme said it was Icasa's "duty to take this matter up in the public interest, and in particular, on behalf of those who use the very little they earn to fork our subscription fees for DStv".

She referred to the SABC board's minutes of June 6, 2013, which she revealed on Wednesday.

She said the minutes suggested "that MultiChoice sought to pay the SABC R100m a year for its 24-hour news channel in exchange for the public broadcaster's political influence over digital migration".

ALSO READ: There were no clandestine meetings and no kickbacks with SABC - MultiChoice

"This notion has since been confirmed by the former minister of communications, Yunus Carrim, who is quoted in the media today (Thursday) stating that: '...MultiChoice was seeking to change government policy to serve its own interests', and he '...felt it wrong for a private company to seek to buy government policy in this way so that it could retain its 98% dominance of the pay-TV sector'," she said. 

"This is very serious indeed, and Icasa must exercise the very broad powers the Icasa Act gives it to investigate this," she said.

"In addition, it is important for us in Parliament to do the same."

No progress in state capture investigation

She said the communications committee must discharge its duty to conduct an inquiry into allegations of state capture relating to Muthambi, who is now minister of public service and administration, as requested by the Deputy Speaker.

On August 22 the committee's chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana informed the committee that he had received a letter from Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, informing the committee that it had to investigate state capture.

Since then, the committee, which has had a very busy schedule in the past few months, hasn't made much progress in this regard.

Van Damme wants the inquiry to summon the following people: 

  • Former communications ministers Muthambi, Carrim and Dina Pule;
  • Former CEO of MultiChoice Imtiaz Patel;
  • MultiChoice's executive chairperson Nolo Letele
  • Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk 
  • Former SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala; and
  • Former SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo.

Also on Thursday, MultiChoice denied any wrongdoing in a statement which described the company's conduct as "just normal commercial negotiation". 

Van Dijk, in an interview with Moneyweb, said Naspers took the allegations against MultiChoice "seriously", but that the responsibility for dealing with the allegations lay with the MultiChoice board.

Van Dijk serves on MultiChoice's board, according to the company's website, which wasn't mentioned in the Moneyweb interview.

This is not the first time MultiChoice's dealings with the SABC have caused controversy, as the deal often reared its head in the work of the ad hoc committee that investigated the former SABC board. 

This committee found Muthambi to be "incompetent" as communications minister and recommended that the MultiChoice deal was one of the "questionable contracts" that should be investigated.

• News24 is published by Media24. Both Media24 and MultiChoice are Naspers companies.

Read more on:    icasa  |  da  |  multichoice  |  faith muthambi

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.