News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
4 Jun 2019
10:46 am

SABC sold 100 hours of footage to ANN7 at ‘throwaway prices’, commission hears

Makhosandile Zulu

A witness told the Zondo commission that the news channel scored the 'sweet deal' because of the close relationship between the Guptas and Zuma.

South Africa - Johannesburg - 03 June 2019 - Former ANN7 Editor, Mr Rajesh Sundaram appears before the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)

Ex-consulting editor Rajesh Sundaram, who headed the editorial team of now-defunct Gupta-owned news channel ANN7, on Tuesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that the national broadcaster, SABC, sold the Gupta channel 100 hours of footage at “throwaway prices” described as “peanuts”.

Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa further described this deal to Sundaram as a “sweet deal” which was for archival and contemporary footage as well as footage of buildings. This footage would have been worth millions of dollars, Sundaram said.

Sundaram said he later learned through conversation with the Gupta brothers and Howa that ANN7 had scored the deal because officials at the SABC knew that the Guptas had a close relationship with former president Jacob Zuma and thus did not want to get in the way.

The evidence leader at the commission on Tuesday, senior counsel Thandi Norman, said the next witness, who worked at the sales department at the SABC, was set to testify that the national broadcaster had actually sold ANN7 only 2,000 minutes of footage.

However, Sundaram maintained that it had been close to 100 hours, “definitely more than 2,000 minutes”.

Sundaram further testified that he was told that the deal included that ANN7 would pay the SABC per second for whatever footage the former channel may have used for the month.

However, he said what was puzzling was that there was no monitoring system in place which the SABC would be able to use to determine how much footage ANN7 had used.

Sundaram said he further learned through conversation with Howa that officials at ANN7 intended to give the SABC a lower figure of the footage they had used on a monthly basis, which was the “sweet” part of the deal.

“The SABC exposed itself to fraud, knowingly,” Sundaram said.

Sundaram’s testimony continues:

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