05/12/2017 17:50 SAST | Updated 05/12/2017 17:50 SAST

Jackson Mthembu Calls For Investigation Into MultiChoice Allegations

"If you want to call that state capture, I have no problem"

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ANC Parliamentary Chief whip Jackson Mthembu. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says an investigation should be instituted to get to the bottom of claims surrounding pay-TV giant MultiChoice and its contractual dealings with the Gupta-linked channel ANN7.

It comes amid allegations of a corrupt relationship between the Naspers-owned entity and former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

"This matter, many people have called for it to be properly investigated and I've also heard that even parliamentary committees have been called to action on this matter. If there were any attempts to influence negatively government policy, by anybody, that matter should be investigated and all those who might have done things not in accordance to our objectives must be called to account," Mthembu said.

"If you want to call that state capture, I have no problem... An investigation will also say who did what, we should not jump the gun. We must not be accusing ANC cadres prematurely. Let's get to the bottom of these allegations and sift truth from fiction."

Mthembu was addressing the media on policies regarding communications and the 'Battle of Ideas' ahead of the ANC's national conference in two weeks. Mthembu serves as the chairperson of the ANC NEC sub-committee on communications.

READ: MultiChoice 'Could Join The Ranks Of KPMG And Bell Pottinger' Over Gupta Deal.

Mthembu said the ANC's policies focus on four areas:

  • Battle of ideas and government communications

Mthembu said since the ANC's last conference in Mangaung in 2012, it has created a "state of the art" media briefing facility at its head office, Luthuli House, and completed and presented communication protocols to "guide and align ANC communications".

"Among our key focuses would be the development of capacity which allows the ANC unmediated platforms to communicate with the people of South Africa and beyond...The decisions of [the previous conference] relating to government communications have not been fully implemented," he said.

  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

He said the ANC, in the past five years, has implemented a resolution to craft an overarching integrated ICT framework and stabilised the South African Post Office.

"We have further made significant progress to license the Post Bank as a fully fledged state bank. We welcome the decision that the Post Bank will be the primary distributor of social grants come 2018," he said.

  • Broadcasting

Mthembu reflected on the changes to the South African Broadcasting Corporation as one of the successes the ANC had achieved in the past five years.

"We are pleased to report a thorough inquiry into the affairs of the SABC was considered in Parliament. A very effective interim board was appointed, which was succeeded by a new Board. Both have pursued the SABC turnaround with vigor," he said.

"Policies should aim to attain over 70 percent local content within five years from the national conference. By 2018 we must have migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting."

  • Media transformation:

Mthembu said ANC policies should prioritize community media.

"We welcomed the promulgation of the marketing, advertising and communication sector, believing it is an important instrument to take forward transformation in the marketing and advertising industries...[National conference] must emerge with concrete mechanisms to increase and accelerate black ownership in telecommunications, paid TV and print media," he said.