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MultiChoice CEO: No need to fire anyone over ANN7 matter

The media corporation has taken the decision not to renew its contract with the Gupta-linked TV channel.

Multichoice management briefs the media on the outcome of the review into their relationship with ANN7 on 31 January 2018. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – MultiChoice South Africa says while mistakes were made in its deal with ANN7, there's no need to fire anyone.

The media corporation has taken the decision not to renew its contract with the Gupta-linked TV channel.

MultiChoice has been accused of paying millions of rands to ANN7 to allegedly influence the country's long-stalled digital migration from analogue TV, a claim they both deny.

Several employees at ANN7 have told Eyewitness News they are concerned about their future.

MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela says: “We’ve suffered reputational harm around this channel we’ve on our platform. Secondly is that, the channel itself didn’t meet its performance criteria.

“We have decided that we’ve been to the BCCSA a number of times with regard to this channel and there were a number of rulings that were adverse against us in terms of this channel.”

ANN7 can reapply for a new channel on DStv after its contract comes to end in August.

WATCH: We will not be renewing ANN7's contract, says MultiChoice

PAYMENTS ABOVE BOARD

MultiChoice also insists that payments made to both ANN7 and the SABC were above board and had nothing to do with its stance on digital migration.

The media group has admitted that it made mistakes in its relationship with ANN7 - which was previously owned by the Guptas - but says that its investigation has found no evidence of corruption.

Mawela says that while they've always been against encryption, money paid to the channels had nothing to do with "influence".

The internal investigation focused only on payments made to ANN7, however, Mawela explained how the contract with the SABC was negotiated.

“We still believe that there’s a need to have plurality of views on the news channel. At the moment, we’ve got eNCA, ANN7 and we’ve got the SABC News, so which means we only have two private news channels.

“We think that continuing with another private news channel to add that diversity into South Africa.”

MultiChoice says that Parliament has referred the SABC matter to the Special Investigating Unit SIU) and it will co-operate with this investigation.