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DOC hit back at “desperate” Multichoice

Eugene morokolo Mar 20,2014 0 Comments

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Department of communications

The department of communication has hit back at Multichoice saying the company has no right to talk on behalf of the poor. MultiChoice cannot speak for the poor. It has no mandate from them. It is the poor, after all, who are excluded from watching MultiChoice, including major sports events, over which it has exclusive control, says the department.

The department says there have been consultations since 2008 on set top boxes including MultiChoice and other stakeholders.  “Even a facilitation process initiated by Minister Carrimfrom September 2013 until 17 March 2014 failed. All the issues raised by MultiChoice were fully addressed in this process”, says Siya Qoza, spokesperson for the department.

According to the department Set top box control has been Cabinet policy since 2008, long before Minister Carrim was appointed in July 2013.  “It was Cabinet that decided on the current policy on 4 December 2013. It was not Minister Carrim’s personal choice, as MultiChoice well knows. It’s an insult to suggest that other Cabinet members blindly followed Minister Carrim like sheep. MultiChoice’s personal attacks on the Minister are really a sign of its desperation” he said.

Furthermore the department says the policy is consistent with the ANC’s Mangaung resolutions and other government policies, and will benefit the poor and disadvantaged, who will not be able to afford new digital televisions. It will also, over time, contribute to lowering the cost of pay-tv for consumers.

“If it cares so much for consumers, why does it charge so much for its services and excludes the poor” asks Qoza.

The department says MultiChoice has about 98% of the pay-television market and fears competition. It is this that explains its position and its sudden “concern” about the plight of the consumers and even the poor. Its representatives have been extremely aggressive in the negotiations process and want to take part to the extent that they get their way.

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