JOHANNESBURG – THE Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has threatened to mobilise members of the public to what appears to be a campaign to boycott Multichoice following its termination of the contract with Africa News Network 7 (ANN7).
The threat came on the back of the condemnation of Africa’s biggest pay television provider confirming its decision not to renew ANN7’s contract when it expires in August.
Meokgo Matuba, ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) secretary general, expressed the organisation’s outrage.
“If Multichoice does not rescind it’s decision on ANN7, the ANCWL will have no option but to mobilise all sectors of the society against Multichoice,” Matuba said.
The political organisation organisation said women would be most affected by the looming loss of jobs emanating from Multichoice’s decision.
“The ANCWL supporters, members and society in general must revolt against Multichoice that will cause job losses and negatively impacts on the lives of ANN7 staff, majority of them being young women,” Matuba in a statement on Friday.
Other political parties, unions and media organisations also condemned MultiChoice’s decision not to renew ANN7’s contract.
Mahlatse Mahlase, South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) chairperson, said the decision was against media diversity in the country.
“As SANEF, we believe in diversity in the media industry in terms of ownership and providing platforms for a multiplicity of voices. Removing a channel could set a dangerous precedent that has serious implications for media freedom and diversity when the country is calling out for more media to afford the public with a variety and multiplicity of views,” Mahlase said.
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) condemned Multichoice as a “bully” and of “draconian behavior.”
“The action of MultiChoice cannot go unnoticed and unchallenged in relation to [the] termination of their contract with the ANN7. We have witnessed unfair treatment of journalists associated to ANN7 by either hooligan politicians or fellow journalists from ‘progressive’ media houses,” said PAC spokesman Kenneth Mokgatlhe.
“MultiChoice do not have any right to bully ANN7 or any other media house for that matter. We are fuming. We are flabbergasted by this draconian behaviour of MultiChoice,” Mokgatlhe said.
Mzwanele Manyi, ANN7 owner, said he would study the Multichoice’s basis for not renewing the contract.
“We will study the statement by MultiChoice in the context of our contract and all the laws of the country. We are going to study the press statement and try to make sense of what was said in it before we can exercise the myriad of options that are available to address the issue,” Manyi told his newspaper, The New Age.
MultiChoice, said an investigation found the company had not done “proper due diligence on ANN7 but there was no corruption in its contract.”
Launched in 2013, ANN7 was earlier owned by the Gupta family.
– CAJ News