7 December 2017

South Africa: The Way of Gupta? Pressure Mounts for Naspers As MultiChoice Faces Fires On Multiple Fronts

analysis

With MultiChoice accused of having essentially "bought" government policy over digital encryption to benefit its business, calls for investigations are heaping up both locally and internationally. In addition to a potential class action lawsuit against the company being mooted by a US firm, the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission has also been asked to launch an inquiry into Naspers. Comparisons between Naspers and the Gupta-owned company Oakbay, meanwhile, are inevitable. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The current scandal in which MultiChoice finds itself embroiled - and by extension its holding company, Naspers - has cast retrospective light on a number of issues from South Africa's recent past.

One is the removal of Communications Minister Yunus Carrim in 2014 after just 10 months in his post, despite Carrim being hailed by industry players as the most effective minister ever to serve in that department.

Now it seems likely that the sticking point was Carrim's outspoken support for the introduction of encrypted set-top boxes when South Africa was about to make the migration from analogue to digital TV broadcasting. Shortly after Carrim was replaced by Minister Faith Muthambi, Muthambi expressed her support for unencrypted devices - contrary to the preference not just of Carrim, but...

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