ANC calls for probe into Naspers

Media boss Koos Bekker and Multichoice at heart of allegations of subverting government policy on encryption for set-top boxes

THE ANC has called for investigations into allegations of state capture against Naspers boss Koos Bekker with the same fervour as ongoing allegations against other entities of undue influence on the state.

Chairperson of the subcommittee on communications Jackson Mthembu joined the growing chorus of concerns about Multi- choice and its parent company chaired by Bekker for allegedly trying to get former minister of communications Yunus Carrim to subvert government policy on encryption for set-top boxes, which would benefit Multichoice.

Mthembu said that while he had no qualms with calling Bekker’s and Multichoice’s alleged misdeeds by name as state capture, he called for a thorough investigation into the matter. “This matter needs to be properly investigated. And I’ve heard that even parliamentary committees have been called into action on this matter,” Mthembu said.

“I’m not sure if the public protector is investigating, but indeed if there were any attempts to negatively influence government policy by anybody, that matter should be investigated. “And all those who have done things not in accordance with our stated objectives, must be called to account,” Mthembu said.

While Multichoice has denied the allegations, Carrim recently reminded Bekker and Multichoice CEO Imtiaz Patel of a previous meeting between them in Cape Town, where Carrim claimed Bekker was “irritated” by his refusal to buckle under pressure piled on him over the matter. Mthembu said that if any wrongdoing was to be found on the part of Multichoice and Bekker, both parties should face the music.

“If you want to call that state capture, I have no problem because if you want to benefit and you then try to influence government policy to your benefit as a private citizen or corporate citizen, indeed you might be trying to capture the state for your own purposes,” Mthembu said.

“So indeed one might agree that maybe there were those attempts, but let’s investigate them too, in the same way that we investigated any narrative of state capture anywhere in our country, whether in Eskom or anywhere else. “Let us investigate this one as well and act on any people who have tried to influence the state negatively,” Mthembu said.

Mthembu has backed the new SABC board for its ongoing efforts to turn around the misfortunes of the public broadcaster. “To this end, we are pleased to report that during this term a thorough inquiry into the affairs of the SABC was conducted by Parliament and produced a considered report to turn around the affairs at the public broadcaster.

“A very effective interim board was appointed which was succeeded by a new board which commenced its work in the latter part of this year. “Both have pursued the SABC’s turnaround with vigour,” Mthembu said.

-Bonolo Selebano