05/12/2017 07:34 SAST | Updated 05/12/2017 07:34 SAST

Parliament And Icasa Are Considering Investigating MultiChoice

"We can't just leave the issues in the public domain. It needs to be discussed and a decision needs to be taken."

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Parliament is considering a probe into allegations about MultiChoice's conduct, Business Day reported on Tuesday.

MultiChoice faces allegations that it purchased influence over government, to change its policy on digital migration to suit the pay-TV company, by paying unjustified fees to the SABC and ANN7.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on communications, Humphrey Maxegwana, told Business Day, "We can't just leave the issues in the public domain. It needs to be discussed and a decision needs to be taken."

Eyewitness News (EWN) reported that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is considering a probe, too. The DA reportedly asked the watchdog to investigate.

Icasa's Paseka Maleka told EWN: "We have received a letter from the DA but we currently don't have a position because council is still deliberating on the issue, as soon as we have a considered view, it is then that we will be able to explain if there will be an investigation or not.

The DA revealed minutes of an SABC meeting where MultiChoice allegedly sought to pay R100-million to the SABC for the support of SABC officials.

eNCA reported that the June 2013 meeting was attended by Ellen Tshabalala, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Lulama Makhobo and Jimi Matthews, with the then CEO of MultiChoice, Imtiaz Patel.

MultiChoice allegedly paid R25-million extra to ANN7 in the hopes of winning its support, too.

Former communications minister Yunus Carrim said MultiChoice had "vigorously" lobbied government to sway its policy in its favour. While Naspers, parent company of MultiChoice, distanced itself from the allegations, the Mail & Guardian reported that Carrim said Naspers chair, Koos Bekker, could not claim ignorance.

Bekker said he had only met Carrim once, in the presence of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, but Carrim told the Mail & Guardian: "Mr Bekker conveniently forgets the meeting we had in Cape Town within a month of my appointment which he requested and MultiChoice CEO, Imtiaz Patel, several times urged. Bekker's main purpose was to persuade me about the folly of set-top box encryption, and seemed irritated that I would not agree with him and chose instead to refer the conflicts about it to a mediation process to seek a compromise ... He forgets too our telephonic exchanges."