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DA gives MultiChoice 48 hours to publicly release ANN7 contract details

It says all records prior to contract negotiations should also be made public.

The MultiChoice offices in Randburg, Johannesburg. Picture: multichoice.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on MultiChoice to publicly release the full details of the contract it's entered with Gupta-owned tv station ANN7.

It says all records prior to contract negotiations should also be made public.

This follows the latest revelations in the Gupta leaks about questionable payments made by MultiChoice to ANN7, as well as the involvement of former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

The opposition party says it will take the matter up with Independent Communications Authority of South Africa should MultiChoice fail to publish the information within 48 hours.

The DA’s Phumzile van Damme explains: “We are doing this following media reports emanating from the Gupta leaks of the payments, which were allegedly made to MultiChoice as well as the involvement of former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. If there was nothing untoward about their contract with ANN7 then they should have absolutely no problem with making those documents public.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters has also announced that it will report MultiChoice to the Competition Commission to investigate how the company influenced policy on set-top boxes in favour of their market domination and the involvement of Muthambi.

THE DEAL

It's been revealed that MultiChoice allegedly made a dodgy payment of R25 million to the Gupta-owned TV station.

According to the latest GuptaLeaks, MultiChoice also increased its annual payment to ANN7 from R50 million to just over a R140 million.

AmaBhungane’s reporting that in September 2015, MultiChoice paid millions of rands to ANN7 and increased its annual payment significantly.

This happened at a time when the channel was trying to win a slice of DStv's news audience but was faced with teething problems and being heavily criticised for the quality of its content.

It's reported the questionable payments took place following a transfer of powers, where then Muthambi controversially pushed through a decision in favour of unencrypted set-top boxes, which benefited MultiChoice.

Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court ruled that it was within Muthambi's right to make policy decisions affecting the broadcasting sector.

In its response to the leaks, MultiChoice has denied there is any relationship between the policy outcome in its favour and payments made to ANN7.

Additional reporting by Thando Kubheka.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)