JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has asked Multichoice for the full report ion which it based its decision not to renew its contract with the formerly Gupta-owned ANN7 news channel.
Earlier this week Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela said the contract with ANN7 would not be renewed when it expired in August. He said the timing of the announcement gave ANN7 employees ample time to prepare for the removal of the channel from the DStv bouquet.
DA MP Phumzile van Damme said her party had — in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information — requested the full report compiled by MultiChoice’s audit and risk committee “in the interest of openness and transparency, and in particular, to reveal the full details about why and how the payments were made to the Gupta-owned ANN7”.
The public deserved to know the “full truth”, said Van Damme.
Mawela had said that although Multichoice had made mistakes in its dealings with ANN7, which was recently bought from the Guptas by Mzwanele Manyi, an internal probe had found no evidence of corruption.
The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh – who have close ties to President Jacob Zuma, are being investigated by authorities for their role in alleged state capture. They are accused of exerting undue influence on government officials in order to secure lucrative tenders.
Mawela cited the absence of a due diligence process and “reputation damage” as some of the reasons Multichoice was not renewing the contract with ANN7.
Van Damme said Multichoice’s press briefing on Wednesday had left the public with more questions than answers. “If Multichoice has nothing to hide, it will willingly make this document public.”
“Only the full truth will get Multichoice out of this mess. We need to know what ‘mistakes’ were made, why no one is being held accountable and whether the money of DStv subscribers may have been used to grease Gupta palms.”
There have been suggestions that Multichoice paid millions of rand as an “advance payment” to the Guptas to influence government policy on the long-delayed digital migration – something Mawela has denied.