The Guptas’ The New Age (TNA) Media never paid the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for hosting the TNA/ANN7 breakfast briefing shows on Morning Live and for outside broadcasting services, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Tuesday.
However, the now-defunct Gupta-owned ANN7 (Infinity Media) did purchase archival footage from the SABC at a total cost of R405,840 including VAT, the commission heard.
These figures were tabled before the commission by the chief financial officer at the SABC, Yolande van Biljon, who had been requested by the inquiry’s investigators to pull up records of transactions between the SABC, TNA Media, Infinity Media and other commercial entities.
Van Biljon said according to records, an agreement was concluded by the SABC and TNA Media which resulted in the latter supplying the national broadcaster with copies of the discontinued New Age newspaper on a weekly basis, and the corporation providing broadcasting services, particularly outside broadcasting services, to TNA Media.
The SABC coughed up R908,035.57 for the supply of the newspaper from 2011 to 2018, Van Biljon said.
She added that according to information obtained, it is clear that the SABC was never paid nor did the broadcaster invoice TNA Media for the so-called breakfast shows, or any other outside broadcasting services rendered by the SABC to the Gupta company.
Earlier, SABC chief executive officer (CEO) Madoda Mxakwe told the commission that outside broadcasting services are quite expensive.
Van Biljon said these are a combination of a number of costs, including the rental of technical equipment, satellite feed, travelling costs “and a host of other things”.
The cost of these outside broadcasting services stood at R4,268,887 excluding VAT from 2011 to 2017, Van Biljon told the commission.
The chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said he hopes that a witness would appear before the inquiry to clarify whose responsibility it was that the SABC should have been paid for these services it rendered to TNA.