R550 million SABC-Multichoice deal signed by Dina Pule: report

The City Press reported that former communications minister Dina Pule sanctioned a R550 million deal between the SABC and Multichoice in July which sold off SABC assets to Multichoice.

News recently emerged that Multichoice and the SABC had entered into a secret deal where the state broadcaster had committed to not carry its channels on a terrestrial platform that uses conditional access.

The DA’s Marian Shinn said that the deal between Multichoice and the SABC was signed on 3 July 2013 and afforded the SABC two 24-hour TV channels on DStv.

Under the terms of the agreement, penalties would apply under the following conditions:

Should any one or more of the SABC FTA [free-to-air] channels be made available on the SABC DTT platform in South Africa at any time during the term [of the deal] on an encrypted basis, and that access to the SABC FTA channel(s) is/are controlled or limited by means of a conditional access systems or otherwise not freely available for viewing…

According to the City Press report sources close to the deal raised concerns that the agreement may be in violation of the Public Finance Management Act if it provides Multichoice with exclusive access to the SABC’s archive.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that Multichoice only has exclusive access to a small portion of the SABC’s vast archive. This will be used to package the planned SABC entertainment channel.

The Department of Communications said that its SABC joint task team is looking into the SABC-Multichoice contract.

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R550 million SABC-Multichoice deal signed by Dina Pule: report