MultiChoice admitted on Wednesday that “mistakes” were made in contractual negotiations with formerly Gupta-owned 24-news channel ANN7 and that the agreement will be terminated when the deal expires in August 2018 and the channel will no longer be carried on DStv after that date.
MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela said at a press conference in Randburg that it would not be appropriate to renew the ANN7 contract considering “ongoing controversies”. He said MultiChoice will issue a tender to appoint and fund a new, black-owned commercial news channel soon.
“This has been a humbling exercise for MultiChoice,” Mawela said. “…We fully understood the outrage of the public given the endemic corruption in the country. We should have dealt with the concerns around ANN7 more swiftly.”
Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said the allegations regarding ANN7 have “caused me a great deal of concern”.
“Reading the news coverage in November, that is not the kind of messaging you want to see about your company,” Van Dijk said.
In early December, MultiChoice said that it was aware that its deal with ANN7 had caused “real public concern” and instructed its audit and risk committees to probe the contract.
In a statement at the time, MultiChoice independent nonexecutive director Don Eriksson, who chairs the board committees, said: “The MultiChoice board has read the various media reports alleging that MultiChoice has entered into an irregular relationship for the carriage of the ANN7 channel. 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.”
ANN7 was owned by the controversial Gupta family, which has been accused of using its close association with President Jacob Zuma to win state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas have denied the allegations of “state capture”. The Guptas sold the business in 2017 to Mzwanele Manyi, a former government spokesman, in a “vendor-financed” deal.
Asked if Manyi has been told about the decision to terminate the channel, Mawela said: “We explained the whole situation to him and he has accepted our position and he is considering what we have shared with him.” — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media
Source: Tech Central – News
MultiChoice to terminate ANN7 from DStv