Earlier this year, one media outlet reported that disgraced former chief operating officer of the SABC Hlaudi Motsoeneng was going to be joining MultiChoice, but that turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.
However, EFF leader Julius Malema put the cat among the pigeons on Friday with a tweet suggesting it may not be that far-fetched at all.
He merely tweeted four words: “The return of Hlaudi” with the MultiChoice hashtag and an emoji suggesting pondering.
It’s likely he was merely suggesting that matters at MultiChoice may have reached a scale of questionability that could be compared to the scandals and mismanagement that routinely made the SABC hog the headlines during Motsoeneng’s tenure.
The return of Hlaudi. ????#Multichoice
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) August 31, 2018
Malema was this week caught up in developments around the new black-owned channel on DStv, which will be run by a little-known company called Newzroom Afrika.
The EFF leader alleged that the deal secured with the company, which will be replacing the former incumbents of channel 405, Afro WorldView (formerly ANN7), is highly questionable, with allegedly worrying links to the ANC.
He claimed at a press conference this week that he had seen a “file” with damning information about what had gone down in the selection process.
At the EFF’s press conference in Braamfontein on Tuesday, Malema claimed “MultiChoice has presented some unknown fellows” and “there’s something running there that is not proper and we will come back to it”.
He alleged the problem was so deep that parliament might have to investigate it.
“We may want to ask the parliamentary committee to call MultiChoice and ask them how they came to this,” he said.
He alleged that Newzroom Afrika was a completely unexpected choice and he had seen a “file” about the matter, but he was not yet ready to discuss it because “we may need some time because the file I am going through is terrible”.
“They were not number one [among bidders expected to win]. They were not number two. Who knows these people? Who has a cosy relationship with these people?”
He alleged that the choice was corrupt because: “These are ANC fellows.”
MultiChoice chief executive Calvo Mawela announced Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday morning after MultiChoice last week pulled the plug on Afro Worldview.
In a press statement, MultiChoice explained that Newzroom Afrika “is a new company formed by successful television production entrepreneurs Thokozani Nkosi of Eclipse TV and Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation”.
The EFF then released a statement on the matter, in which they repeated the allegations of corruption and called for accountability on how MultiChoice had picked the successful bidder.
They said the choice of Newzroom Afrika “smacks of corruption, fronting and nefarious influence by the forces of evil”.
Statement On Multichoice's Decision On The Preferred News Broadcaster pic.twitter.com/5GHz7fw5e3
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) August 29, 2018
He delivered for them. Big!! He’s gone there to collect. He knows too much – won’t be suprised if he even blackmailed them
— Grace (@Malerato09) August 31, 2018
They were referring to the fact that a deal between the SABC and MultiChoice in 2013 overseen by Motsoeneng — worth about R533 million — was flagged by a parliamentary inquiry as possibly unlawful.
Under that deal, the SABC also agreed to supply a 24-hour news channel and an entertainment channel.
Take a look at some of the other responses below:
Malema in Hlaudi business=victimisation of another Black person by Malema.
— Akeng' ngihlupheke umhlab' ungakimi! (@1Patwit) August 31, 2018
Let's give him a chance. May be the ability in him was destroyed by his relations with politicians reffering to ANC.Its time for him to prove that education is of no value. pic.twitter.com/7vdBSSdSVJ
— #REALITY VIEW (@reality_view) August 31, 2018
— Phindz (@keletso30933369) August 31, 2018
Others, however, said Motsoeneng should be allowed to work at MultiChoice if he so wished.
Will pple go about witchhunting Hlaudi wherever he is? If he's now at Multichoice it's no one's business, he's not earning from public funds, he also needs to provide for his family
— Nothani Hadebe (@HadebeNothani) August 31, 2018