The SA Communist Party has applauded the decision of the Competition Appeal Court on Friday on the SABC-MultiChoice agreement, saying the SACP joins all South Africans committed to equality and affordable access to media.
“The SABC-MultiChoice agreement signed in 2012 by the unlawfully appointed COO Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, gives MultiChoice indirect influence over SABC news decisions and control of its massive programme archive,” the SACP said in a statement on Sunday.
“MultiChoice, a subsidiary of South Africa’s biggest media company Naspers, was established by the same interests who founded the Afrikaner Broederbond and gave birth to apartheid – and was the only media company that refused to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for its complicity in the crime of apartheid,” the SACP said.
The agreement was a graphic example of corporate capture of a state asset, despite the veneer of legality provided by the 100-odd page “contract”.
Last year two NGOs – Save Our SABC Coalition (SOS) and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) – joined by others, took the agreement to the Competition Tribunal, arguing that it was anti-competitive, gave MultiChoice control over policy-making by the SABC, and was an effective merger in terms of the Competition Act.
Early this year, the tribunal ruled that the agreement was not a merger and there was insufficient information to make a finding on various other aspects. The SOS and MMA appealed against the finding.
On Friday, three judges of the Competition Appeal Court unanimously threw out the tribunal’s decision and criticised the tribunal for failing to use its “inquisitorial” (investigative) powers to access the information it needed.
The case now reverted to the tribunal, but with much of the logic it used now declared invalid.
The SACP congratulated the SOS and MMA for their refusal to accept that corporate capture was now the norm in South Africa.
The SOS and MMA partnered with the SACP in hosting last year’s historical media summit and were represented in the Media Transformation Task Team established by the summit, the SACP said.
– African News Agency (ANA)