Manyi wants R144m from SABC – report

Mzwanele Manyi speaks at the commission of inquiry into state capture held in Johannesburg, 26 November 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The breakfast briefings that used to show on SABC are now the subject of a legal skirmish between the broadcaster and the new owner of the Gupta media entities.

Public broadcaster SABC has gone to battle against The New Age (TNA) owner Mzwanele Manyi over the millions TNA wants to claim over the cancellation of a contract, Sunday World reports.

The two had entered into a contractual agreement that lent the Gupta-founded newspaper SABC’s platform to broadcast its breakfast briefings.

In an affidavit submitted to the South Gauteng High Court, the SABC states the main agreement between TNA and the public broadcaster was a partnership. The agreement would then be determined by the group supply chain management and preferential procurement policy of the SABC.

The agreement was supposed to go on for 12 months after commencing in March 2012, and the revenue accumulated from advertising and sponsorships would go to the SABC.

The affidavit states, however, that the agreement with TNA was concluded for 36 months and TNA received the revenue, and not the broadcaster.

According to the affidavit, TNA and the SABC signed the next agreement in April 2013 to host another show, Face of the People, on a monthly basis. The show, however, never took flight.

In 2015, the two parties signed an agreement that amended the broadcast dates for the breakfast business briefings and introduced a new agreement that the SABC would give the newspaper, now renamed Afro Voice, R4.5 million worth of airtime.

The termination of contract terms was also included in the amendments to stretch the notice period from three months to 12 months.

The SABC says the contract was illegal by arguing that it contravened the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and went against the broadcaster’s procurement policy framework. The policy states that all contracts above R2 million should be advertised and given the green light by the board.

The contract of renewal and amendment, finally terminated last year June, was also illegal and unconstitutional, the SABC argues.

TNA went to the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa (Afsa) demanding R144 million in damages as a result of the contract being terminated, according to the Sunday tabloid report.

The SABC denies that it owes TNA the money it claims.

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