Koos Bekker: Nothing untoward with R100m deal involving SABC

Chairman of Naspers Koos Becker admits that it was slow to respond and grasp the allegations of corruption set against MultiChoice.

Naspers CEO Koos Bekker. Picture: naspers.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Naspers chair Koos Bekker says he doesn't see anything untoward with regards the R100 million deal involving the SABC but will investigate anyway.

The Democratic Alliance revealed this week that minutes of an SABC board meeting show that MultiChoice sought to pay the public broadcaster the money for its 24-hour news channel.

It claims this was in exchange for its political influence over digital migration.

However, Bekker says there were talks over digital migration, but nothing illegal.

“We can’t answer without investigation; we will investigate but among that category, I’m not aware of anything serious. But just to be doubly certain we’re going investigate them properly and then report back properly.”

He says the company has to be careful not to override the autonomous boards who serve their functions in each country where it has subsidiaries but takes responsibility.

Naspers admits that it was slow to respond and grasp the allegations of corruption set against MultiChoice.

Becker says the real issue is around MultiChoice's removal of ANN7.

“There are various reasons people come up with allegations. Some are honest concerns about corruption and so on. But mostly it’s an effort to prod action. What they want to do is to get MultiChoice to take off this channel now. We debated that this week intensively. Imagine tonight we simply take it off the air. That’s what the DA, for example, wants.”

At the same time, former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim has sent out a statement on Friday evening.

He says it's bizarre to suggest that Bekker was hands-off from MultiChoice's vigorous campaign to change government policy on encryption.

He's confirmed meeting Bekker to discuss encryption in Pretoria and says former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was also present.

However, he says Bekker seems to have forgotten about telephonic exchanges on the topic as well requesting he meet with MultiChoice CEO Imtiaz Patel.

LISTEN: Naspers washes its hands of corruption-fingered MultiChoice