MutliChoice has announced that it will not be renewing ANN7’s contract when it expires in August. Instead, MultiChoice will be looking for a new black-owned TV channel. During a briefing on Wednesday, CEO Calvo Mawela said they made mistakes in the past and added there was no corruption. “Mistakes were made, with regards to lobbying process and failure to do due diligence, but there was no evidence of corruption or illegal activity.
” Mawela said following their internal investigation, they apologise for the mistakes that were made regarding its relationship with ANN7. “In light of the ongoing controversies, it will not be appropriate to renew ANN7's current contract when it ends in August. Instead, we are starting the process of looking for a new black-owned news channel,” said Mawela.
He added that payments made to ANN7 and other TV channels were not abnormal and had nothing to do with its stance on digital migration. MultiChoice continues to believe that the wide range of foreign and local news channels on its platform, representing widely divergent views, needs to be supplemented with another local voice. Meanwhile, The Black Business Council said it was “shocked” at what appeared to be “abuse of market dominance by Multichoice.
”It was responding to Wednesday’s revelation that ANN7 would be dropped from the company's bouquet after the so-called Gupta leaks last year revealed dodgy payments made to the news channel by Multichoice.
The payments amounted to hundreds of millions of rand.The decision by MultiChoice did not go down well with ANC Women’s League. I a statement released later on Thursday, the league said it is saddened but not surprised by the decision of Multichoice not to renew it’s contract with ANN7 when it ends in August 2018. “Multichoice is economical with the truth on reasons for not renewing the contract with ANN7.
The decision is racially and politically motivated,” said the league. The ANCWL said in the statement that it demands that the ANC led government and other media regulatory bodies ensure that diversity in the media industry is not undermined by the monopolies like Multichoice. (See “Word On The Ground” to hear reader’s opinion on the matter on Page 10)