Claim of Zuma family foul play regarding SA's digital migration

Cape Town - Public service and administration chief director Brent Simmons submitted a sworn affidavit to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on Friday, accusing President Jacob Zuma of lying to Parliament when he claimed he had never introduced members of his family to government officials and ministers for business purposes, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.

Simons apparently cited a number of incidents in which he claims to have seen Zuma “directing” members of his family to the late public service and administration minister, Collins Chabane.

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga told News24 they were not in possession of the affidavit.

“The presidency hasn’t seen the affidavit. If we have it by tomorrow [Monday], I will be able to give a more comprehensive answer,” Ngqulunga said.

The Sunday Times reported further that it has seen correspondence revealing that in 2015, one of Zuma's sons, Mxolisi Saady Zuma, negotiated with Altech for a R54m "consultancy fee" in return for him helping the company win a government tender to manufacture set-top boxes for SA's digital migration from analogue. The paper adds, however, that it is believed the money was never paid.

READ: SA moves closer to analogue switch-off as minister, broadcasters meet

In July Fin24 reported that the Constitutional Court has already ruled in favour of former communications minister Faith Muthambi against an appeal filed by e.tv. The judgment followed an appeal lodged by Muthambi in May 2016 on the ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, that she did not follow due process in her decision to amend the broadcasting digital migration policy.

SA’s digital broadcast migration project has been dogged by delays, with the company behind the rollout of set-top boxes even temporarily halting production of the boxes needed to ensure signal to television sets.

SA has December 2018 as deadline to switch off analogue.

Set-top boxes decode digital signals for analogue television sets and the government plans to distribute these devices to about 5 million poorer households.

The rollout is key to SA’s digital migration project, which intends to shift the SABC, e.tv and other broadcasters off from analogue signals and open up radio frequencies for faster mobile broadband services.

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