THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SA film critics react to latest Star War's latest film, The Last Jedi: 'Sh*t, that was amazing!'


Ecstatic and teary-eyed South African film critics walked out of the cinema yesterday evening after Disney’s closely guarded press preview screening for the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, unable to contain their emotions and excitement with comments ranging from "shit, that was amazing", to "I enjoyed that the most since Empire".

Directed by Rian Johnson, The Last Jedi picks up where Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended in 2015, with Episode VIII that will likely become the 4th biggest film opening of all time, and definitely the biggest film earner of the year, including South Africa.

While American and United Kingdom reviews are out and available online since late Tuesday, TVwithThinus that has seen the film along with all other South African print and online publications are under an embargo and can only publish online reviews on Thursday 14 December from 10:01am.

Reviews of The Last Jedi in South Africa may only appear in print from Friday.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in South African theatres on Friday 15 December with Disney Africa that has created a dedicated, special website, www.thelastjedi.co.za for South African audiences.

It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis and will introduce new planets, hew characters and several new creatures ranging from crystal foxes to penguin-like porgs.

While reviews are strictly forbidden until Thursday and critics have been requested not to include spoilers in reviews so as to keep the many twists and surprises a secret for cinema-goers, the insta-reactions of film critics to the film as they leave cinemas can be reported.

On Tuesday South African critics got their first glimpse at the next installment in the Lucasfilm story set in that galaxy far, far away.

In Cape Town, a Disney staffer, aptly named Luke (but not Skywalker), told the gathered critics before the preview started that the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact) is present and monitoring.

Luke said he himself wouldn't be watching the preview screening; Disney staffers are all getting together on Friday to watch The Last Jedi together.

Critics were sternly told that cellphones need to be packed away and that any person seen with even the smallest light from any device will immediately be escorted from the cinema, the device checked and content, if any recorded, immediately deleted.

Two and a half hours later, chattering critics emerged from Cinema 2, with several looking emotional.

Some stood around in groups in the Ster Kinekor Nouveau lobby at the V&A Waterfront, momentarily huddling and not dispersing – as if to first recollect themselves and to get somewhat of a grip on what they’ve just seen and experienced.

"Shit, that was amazing!" was one critic's immediate reaction, while another said "I enjoyed that the most since Empire [Strikes Back]; every single scene".

At least two critics looked emotional, as if close to shedding physical tears. "Did you expect that?" one asked the other.

"Nope," was the reply.

On Wednesday NASA confirmed that The Last Jedi will also be shown in space. 

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) will soon get to see the new Star Wars film when the film will be beamed up as a digital file.

SABC News correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Pease re-elected as president of the United Nations Correspondents' Association (UNCA).


The SABC News correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Pease in New York has been re-elected as president of the United Nations Correspondents' Association (UNCA) for a second term.

Sherwin Bryce-Pease is the first journalist and correspondent from Africa to ever be elected to hold this position.

REVIEW. Tali's Wedding Diary on Showmax a funny, cringe-filled mock-doc series for our self-obsessed age.


Successfully managing to channel a vain yet unsecure, a bossy yet socially powerless, and a self-obsessed yet with low EQ self-awareness type persona worlds removed from her "Suzelle DIY" character, comedian Julia Anastasopoulos delights in her cringe-filled new Showmax mock-doc series Tali's Wedding Diary.

Produced by Sketchbook Studios, created and executive produced by Julia Anastasopoulos and Ari Kruger, and also executive produced by Akash BhatiaCandice Fangueiro and Shaamila Fataar, the 8-episode mockumentary series was filmed in Cape Town during this past winter (although you won't be able to tell).

While Julia Anastasopoulos is the bona fide star of the show, the real comedic success of and in Tali's Wedding Diary derives from something not related to any of the actors or their varying acting abilities.

The bulk of the comedy in Tali's Wedding Diary derives from incredibly successful editing and directing.

The camera is (allowed to) sway and veer off to the sides from the mainframed characters, with the end of scenes often masterfully edited to linger for just a split second longer to a secondary character or object, creating wonderful "sight-gags".

This directing and filming technique, coupled with supremely clever editing are the true stars of the show.

As scenes are allowed to breathe, viewers are able to not just grasp, but to laugh at the sharp irony and often cringey, socially awkward, non-verbal, visual humour cleverly locked into the scenes of this satirical series.

The visual gags - purposefully and cleverly "lifted" out through micro silent moments - and the meticulous editing to allow the camera to "linger" for just the right few seconds more, is what unlocks the "punchlines" throughout the delightful series.

Credit should go to the director of photography, James Adey, and Richard Starkey for the clever editing.

Tali's Wedding Diary with an omniscient cameraman and Julia Anastasopoulos as the constantly socially-striving Julia - appearing in a first-person role narrating directly to camera - is a first-of-its-kind for a South African production, taking what kykNET (DStv 144) has done with its mockumentary Hotel one step further.

Surrounded by a coterie of long-suffering passive (but not aggressive) "subjects" all revolving around (and unable to escape) Tali's histrionic orbit, Julia Anastasopoulos deftly amps up the egotistical and out-of-control vagaries of a woman not just obsessed with "selfies" but also wanting to create the appearance of a "perfect" wedding.

Viewers who are possibly familiar with Chris Lilley's superb Australian mockumentary Summer Heights High and Angry Boys, Netflix's new American Vandal, or even The Office and Parks and Recreation will instantly get, like, and understand Tali's Wedding Diary on Showmax.


There's somewhat of an unevenness between some of the episodes of Tali's Wedding Diary, although fortunately the first episode that sets the scene and introduces most of the characters, is the best of the first bunch and fulfills its purpose to get a viewer into binge-watching the whole season.

Some episodes, like the second episode in which Tali chooses bridesmaids, comes across as just a tad too rough; a bit too bluntly on-the-nose.

While rooting for the main character, by the second and third episode, viewers will get an inkling that the show that starts out on a bright Cape Town beach, is going to veer into darker and more negative territory.

The fact is that several aspects of Tali's personality actually isn't likeable or laudable but it's a given that once you start watching, you will likely continue to find out if a wedding will ever really happen.

The language in Tali's Wedding Diary also deserves a mention.

It's perplexing as to why Showmax and the show did it - since it makes it less suitable for a mainstream audience and means less viewers will be able to watch it - but a warning that the producers and scripts include explicit language including "shit" and "fuck".

The salty language makes Tali's Wedding Diary not suitable as family viewing with a higher age restriction that what the show should have. Not having these four letter words in scenes wouldn't have made scenes weaker and their inclusion doesn't make scenes feel more authentic.


Anton Taylor is a treat as the "dynamic sensitive" and energy-absorbing husband-to-be Darren with the actor exhibiting smart "underplay" restraint to remain the straight foil to Tali's over-the-top antics.

An earnest and funny Glen Biederman-Pam as the real estate agent up-and-comer Rael displays excellent comedic timing as the run-along sidekick.

Tali's Wedding Diary could easily do a spin-off series following the hapless Darren and Rael's real estate ventures, with their pitiful and hilarious side-show adventures that could honestly be a show of its own.

Tali's Wedding Diary is available on Showmax from 14 December 2017.


ALSO READ: Showmax on its first real original production, Tali's Wedding Diary: "Part of a fundamental shift in our content strategy where we knew we needed to be different".

Showmax on its first real original production, Tali's Wedding Diary: 'Part of a fundamental shift in our content strategy where we knew we needed to be different'.


Showmax's first real own, original local South African production, Tali's Wedding Diary, available from 14 December, is the result of a content strategy shift at the video streaming service that realised that it had to be different from competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and had to start making its own local South African stories.

Tali's Wedding Diary, filmed in Cape Town, is rolling out from 14 December 2017 on Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service as a quirky, 8-episode mockumentary show starring comedian Julia Anastasopoulos, produced by Sketchbook Studios.

Besides being Showmax's first real local and original South African production not co-produced and cross-financed with one of MultiChoice's DStv TV channels, Tali's Wedding Diary is also the very first local South African mockumentary-style show with a main character acting as a first person, straight-to-camera narrator.

While Netflix already has several of these American-made mockumentary styled shows with a few that have also been made for linear broadcast channels in recent years in countries like Australia, the genre is very new and still largely unfamiliar to South African viewing audiences, with Tali's Wedding Diary breaking new ground for South Africa's TV industry.

Tali's Wedding Diary is created by Julia Anastasopoulos and Ari Kruger, and executive produced by Akash Bhatia, Candice Fangueiro and Shaamila Fataar.

"Tali's Wedding Diary is our first, first real Showmax Original production, says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax's head of content for Africa.

"We launched Showmax two years ago and this year we saw a fundamental shift in our content strategy where we knew we needed to be different."

"We needed to be different. We had to start creating content; producing local stories that South Africans would come to fall in love with and the passion and dedication of Julia Anastasopoulos is testament to that."

"Just by her Instagram following you can see that South Africans love her. So I think we're heading in the right direction."

Candice Fangueiro says Showmax is starting to give "writers and directors a canvass for their visions, and an opportunity to showcase all of the amazing South African talent we have in the country".

"We have to start acquiring new and different shows that have never been seen before and we had to start pushing the boundaries of putting our customers first."

About possible further seasons for Tali's Wedding Diary, Candice Fangueiro says "there's no looking back and there's only looking forward now. We're looking forward to possibly a Tali's Baby Diary. And a Tali's Travel Diary."

About the commissioning and production process Candice Fangueiro says "we've had our ups and our downs; we've learnt lessons, but we've come out on the other side with something really cool, really unique, something different and something that we've seen that South Africans really connect with at this point in time."

Showmax is looking at possibly dubbing Tali's Wedding Diary and also making it available in Poland where the streaming service also has a presence.

"We're so proud of Tali's Wedding Diary," says Chris Savides, Showmax head of Africa.

ALSO READ: REVIEW: Tali's Wedding Diary on Showmax a funny, cringe-filled mock-doc series for our self-obsessed age.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

LET THE RIVER RUN. Sindi Dlathu to shock as devil diva in 1Magic's new diamond drama.


The new diamond drama, The River, will start as a new locally-produced telenovela on the new 1Magic channel on Monday 29 January 2018 with M-Net that's managed to lure well-known TV talent like Sindi Dlathu, Hlomla Dandala, Don Mlangeni and Motshidi Motshegwa to put a face to the new channel.

Like SABC3's Isidingo produced by Endemol Shine South Africa, The River, produced by Tshedza Pictures, chose a South African mining community as the fictional setting where a clash between downtrodden yet aspiring blue collar workers and high-society wealth-wielders will play out when the telenovela starts on weekdays at 20:00.

Similar to the first local drama forays of Mzansi Magic, The River will combine the conflict inherent in township struggles where ordinary working class South Africans have bigger dreams, but are in part prevented from realising those aspirations due to capitalist greed and pervasive corruption within the upper classes.

The River will be the flagship show on the soon-to-launch 1Magic (DStv 103) that is replacing the VUZU AMP channel after three years that tried to court a younger viewership.

The creation of 1Magic is signaling M-Net's latest shift to a bigger focus on broader, general local entertainment through telenovelas and dramas to try and lure a wider audience than just youth viewers, something that the VUZU and VUZU AMP channels have struggled with.

"The River is just the type of drama that fans have been waiting for," says Reneilwe Sema, the M-Net director of local entertainment.

"The storyline combines the allure and ruthlessness of the business world, with the raw essence of township struggles, making for the type of story lines our viewers love."

Sindi Dlathu who left SABC2's Venda-soap Muvhango for this new top billing role, will now appear as Lindiwe, the ruthless matriarch of a mining family.

It will be a stunning role-reversal character portrayal for Sindi Dlathu, beloved by millions of South African viewers for her Thandaza Mokoena character in Muvhango, with viewers who are going to be shocked and bowled over by her cunning, vicious and "love to hate her" new evil on-screen persona.

When the stiletto'ed Lindiwe, living in an upper-crust mansion one the one side of a river, discovers that a township community on the other side is unaware that they're sitting on a valuable diamond treasure, she is adamant to secure the land and riches and will let nothing stand in her way.

Desperate to unearth the diamonds, she is as quick to put bodies into the ground when people stand in her way.

Hlomla Dandala who was in Isidingo and headlined M-Net's very first "Africa drama" Jacob's Cross a decade ago in 2007, returns to M-Net as Zweli, the husband of Lindiwe.

Newcomer Larona Moagi plays Itumeleng, a young character from the township, described as a "feisty rebel who refused to be silenced and roll over when her family and community become casualties of greed and excess" and who wants to put an end to Lindiwe's "ruthless gluttony" at the expense of the local mining community.

The veretan actor Don Mlangeni plays Thato, Itumeleng's dad, with veteran actress Moshidi Motshegwa appearing as her mom, Malefu, a "pillar of strength in the family and township community".

Lawrence Maleka will appear in the role of Zolani, the adopted son of Lindiwe who "bites into forbidden fruit" and is the eyewitness to a terrible tragedy.

Monday, December 11, 2017

M-Net replacing VUZU AMP with 1Magic on DStv Premium from February 2018, adds local dramas like The River, Unmarried.


Three years after launching the M-Net AMP and M-Net Edge channels in October 2014 with M-Net Edge that had already fallen away at the beginning of 2017, M-Net and DStv are now also ending VUZU AMP and replacing it from 29 January 2018 with 1Magic (DStv 103).

Like VUZU AMP, 1Magic will only be available for DStv Premium subscribers.

For now, M-Net says that the lower-tiered VUZU channel on DStv channel 116 will remain, although M-Net says the change from VUZU AMP to 1Magic is to align all the channel names to the "Magic" moniker.

"For now VUZU on 116 will remain as a channel as we will communicate should there be any changes to that channel."

VUZU AMP has struggled to gain ratings traction the past three years and with the rebranding to 1Magic and a content programming shuffle, M-Net hopes to help lift the existing VUZU AMP ratings closer to that of the existing set of Mzansi Magic channels.

M-Net says 1Magic will carry local drama series, telenovelas, reality shows, movies and international reality, drama and films.

1Magic will broadcast series like The Fixer, How To Get Away with Murder, The Real Housewives, Power and later in 2018 the latest seasons of Ballers, Queen Sugar and Insecure.

In response to a media enquiry about the channel change, M-Net says 1Magic will be "introducing a bigger exclusive local content slate than what we currently have on VUZU AMP".

"The name change was necessary in order for the brand to fit into the M-Net brand architecture where all our channels across the continent carry the name "magic", for instance Zambei Magic, Africa Magic, Maisha Magic and Mzansi Magic".

"The new name is memorable and not specific to any language group as we are appealing to a wide audience that has a viewing appetite for local and international content".

M-Net says this will include firsts like a daily local telenovela to the channel.

On 29 January 2018 when VUZU AMP changes to 1Magic, it will launch a new local telenovela entitled, The River, with Sindi Dlathu, Hlomhla Dandala, Moshidi Motshegwa and Larona Moagi like SABC3's Isidingo set in a mining community.

On 2 February 1Magic will start the new urban drama Unmarried, which unpacks themes of love, urban hustle and bustle, and the daily challenges faced by young urban couples in trying to juggle life and aspirations. 

Unmarried stars Fezile Makhanya, Thembisa Mdoda and Renate Stuurman.

"In line with our vision to be the best African storytellers in the world, M-Net has identified a need to invest in more local entertainment for our viewers, in the premium segment. 1Magic will fill a viewing gap by combining new and exclusive local shows with international content,” says Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net general manager for South Africa.

M-Net’s My Kitchen Rules South Africa couple Machiel and Jamandi after their R1 million win: 'We’re going to have sex tonight'.


After winning R1 million in the first season finale of My Kitchen Rules South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sunday night, the overjoyed Bloemfontein couple Jamandi (31) and Machiel Bekker (36) talked about boob jobs to the press and said they’re definitely having sex to celebrate their win.

After taking home the title of South Africa’s best home cooks, beating out best friends Charnell and Kerry from Johannesburg in a tense five course cook-off in the final episode of the Endemol Shine South Africa produced show, husband Machiel at the post-show press conference held at MultiChoice City said "me and her tonight are probably going to make love – with the cheque next to us".

"We're going to start dreaming about that money only now because you can't dream of something that's not yours. We were up against very, very tough competitors and very strict judges."

"The thing that's most amazing about what's happened to us now is we didn't expect it. We never in a million years thought that we would get to this point. And Machiel and I have been crying for the past three days, preparing to lose," said Jamandi. "I'm just so overwhelmed."

About the experience Jamandi said the testing and grueling kitchen cooking experience against other teams "were worse than matric".

"On the day that the final episode was filmed, it was our 10 year wedding anniversary. And you know what's so amazing – my mother and father passed away when I was still young but to win today is amazing because it's my father and mother in law's wedding anniversary as well," said Machiel.

Jamandi said "this was the first wedding anniversary we didn't have sex on. So ja, it was difficult."

"For us being common, everyday people, the attention was a lot, but when we got a challenge we stuck together and did what Jamandi and Machiel wanted to do," said Machiel.

"Do you think in a lifetime you would experience something like this?" said Jamandi. "We're this plain, platteland [rural] Kurt Darren, Nicholis Louw people. Yes. Common. We are common," she joked to laughter. "But that's the way we are."

Jamandi said Machiel wanted to marry her "and I just got a boob job – that was the first thing he saw actually", after which Machiel interrupted and said "there was a second boob job as well!"

Jamandi said "until today and winning you never get that confidence that you are good enough. And until today, it's amazing that we won and I still can't believe that we've won. And this is going to change our lives."

"For us it is important to stay humble. And for us the most important person in our life is God and we just give all the thanks to Him because we wouldn't be anywhere without Him. And we have found the purpose for our lives. We have found the purpose why we are here."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Watch as Deloitte SA security goon starts attacking eNCA reporter and cameraman, ripping out cables and blacking out the camera lens.


On Thursday shocked viewers watched as a Deloitte SA security guard goon illegally lunged at a eNCA (DStv 403) reporter Motheo Khoaripe and started pulling out camera cables during his live TV report on the growing Steinhoff scandal, actively trying to prevent the journalist from doing his job.

Together with a massive share price loss, Steinhoff International Holdings has been plunged into a widening scandal following allegations of earnings manipulations, uncontrolled acquisition sprees and tax fraud that has been sending shockwaves through markets and rattled investors and even seasoned asset managers.

On Thursday the eNCA Moneyline editor Motheo Khoaripe was ready and busy to do a live link to eNCA's Hyde Park studios with midday anchor Jeremy Maggs when he and the eNCA camera team were suddenly harassed just outside Deloitte SA, while standing on a public entry road.

Jeremy Maggs asked Motheo Khoaripe if its known yet what concerned Deloitte SA in not wanting to sign off on Steinhoff's financials when security guard suddenly started pushing the camera team and unilaterally began ripping out cables to try and interrupt the eNCA broadcast.

"Deloitte SA security is trying to pull out our cables now," said Motheo Khoaripe who remained calm and collected despite the harassment.

The camera started shaking and Motheo Khoaripe told Jeremy Maggs "they're switching off our connection here. It's the Deloitte SA security."

"They say were not supposed to be here."

Then the Deloitte SA security - just like the South African police did at the Beitbridge border crossing with the SABC News crew last month - blacked out the eNCA camera by putting a hand over the lens.

eNCA in response to a media enquiry says "eNCA has noted the incident and is investigating the matter. The channel will engage with the security company to find out the reasons for the security guard's behaviour".

Deloitte SA didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment, it will be added if received.

SABC News cameraman Frank Phoshoko (61) dead after a freak fall during filming in Burgersfort.


The SABC's SABC News cameraman Frank Phoshoko (61) has died after a freak fall in the line of work in which he lost consciousness and never recovered.

Frank Phoshoko who joined the South African public broadcaster in 1983 died on Tuesday with a memorial service that was held for him at the SABC on Thursday.

Frank Phoshoko died after he fell during filming in Burgersfort on 13 November and hit his head. He became unconscious.

He was rushed to the Limpopo MediClinic's intensive care unit where he never regained consciousness.

Frank Phoshoko leaves behind his wife Mapula and 3 children.

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) 'gravely concerned' over MultiChoice corruption allegations but hasn't suspended the pay-TV operator's membership.


Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) says the organisation is "gravely concerned" over swirling allegations of MultiChoice corruption and undue influence at Naspers' pay-TV unit, but hasn't suspended MultiChoice's membership.

At issue is whether the media conglom's lucrative pay-TV unit is or was involved in undue pressure to get the controversial Gupta family through their ANN7 channel, and the SABC, to exercise pressure in return for getting their TV news channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers have denied the kickbacks allegations and the MultiChoice board announced that MultiChoice is starting an internal investigation of itself.


Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) - of which MultiChoice is a signed member - in a statement says it is "gravely concerned about recent media reports of alleged state capture and corruption against one of its members, MultiChoice, in its dealings with government and its content suppliers."

"BLSA continues to condemn and take seriously any behaviour that is unethical and that is entirely at odds with the values contained in its Integrity Pledge," says Bonang Mohale, BLSA CEO.

"BLSA can confirm that it has initiated discussions with MultiChoice regarding the allegations as reported in the media."

"We believe that due process must be followed to get to the bottom of these allegations. As such, BLSA will await the outcome of MultiChoice's investigation before making further comment."

"Consistent with the Integrity Pledge that our members have committed to, BLSA remains unwavering in its commitment to the highest ethical and lawful standards".

"To this end, BLSA will take the necessary decisions based on the outcome of the investigation," says Bonang Mohale.

Top Billing on SABC3 celebrates its 25th silver anniversary with a special nostalgic look-back episode with Michael Mol and Basetsana Kumalo back as presenters.


Tonight South Africa’s longest-running, uninterrupted lifestyle magazine TV show will celebrate its 25th anniversary on South African television with Top Billing doing a special, nostalgia-laden look-back episode as current and former presenters, and the show's executive producers, do revealing and personal oral histories of their time working on the show.

Former presenters – a now greying fox Michael Mol, and ever-youthful Basetsana Kumalo are back as tonight's special presenting duo.

Top Billing's silver anniversary is a phenomenal feat for not just the show but also for the South African public broadcaster where the now iconic programme, as TV arbiter of the "good life" on SABC3 has managed to captivate audiences for two and a half decades of weekly episodes telling and showing inspiring South African success stories with a revolving roster of glambod presenters over the years, widely admired and often imitated.

Keeping up appearances for 25 years in South Africa's TV industry, Top Billing, has managed to pull off an incredible production record, only equaled by M-Net's long-running investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche that will turn 30 in 2018 – both shows bravely travelling internationally, working unrelentingly at getting exclusive interviews and access to eye-popping visual stories.

Now iconic for its hobnobbing with the rich and famous locally and abroad, exotic travelogues, fashion and movie junket inserts, jaw-dropping mansion features and presenters walking (and talking!) in designer evening wear, the Tswelopele Productions show has spawned colloquial phrases like "that's definitely a Top Billing house", "it's a Top Billing wedding" and its sign-off "goodnight and God bless!" that has become synonymous with this South Africa TV royalty institution.

More than any other local South African TV show, Top Billing has successfully spawned a bevy of presenter beauties – people South African viewers don't just love to see, but want to be.

Over the years, their names have inextricably become linked with any event – anything – "top billing" since 1992: from Neil McCarthy, Ursula Chikane, Janez Vermeiren, Jeannie D, Simba Mhere and Jo-Ann Strauss to Bonang Matheba, Nico Panagio and lately names like Jade Hubner and Chris Jaftha.

While viewers drink in the beautiful and carefully curated "Vanity Fair on television" type content weekly – sometimes criticised as empty calorie glam-TV – they're oblivious to the immeasurable production focus, energy, man hours and stressful navigation of often-impossible inserts behind the scenes and the gargantuan achievement of Top Billing that has kept it up for 25 years.

In fact, it's not just Top Billing's longevity of 25 years on the cash-strapped and often-erratic SABC (the show that started on TV1, moved to SABC2, then SABC3 and saw an untold number of day and timeslot changes) where programmes are subjected to the whims and vagaries of an ever-changing echelon of TV executives that is extremely impressive, but that it has been able to establish and keep up very high production values week after week after week, unequaled by any other local show on South African television.

What viewers don't see on Top Billing are producers constantly pushing forward and navigating through the byzantine maze of difficult publicists and gatekeepers for access to A-list stars from the worlds of entertainment, sport, business, music, film, and news - the rushed editors working late, insane global travel logistic arrangements often changing last minute and exasperated cameramen valiantly trying to still frame stars looking their best even though someone like Kim Kardashian would refuse to put down her cellphone and look up during an exclusive one-on-one interview.


Still aspirational
As fleeting styles, fashions and viewer interest all blossom and fade, Top Billing has smartly managed to adapt, change and constantly evolve over the more than two decades not just with its audience but staying carefully always just slightly ahead of them. 

Nothing is more tragic than anything old in pop culture that's lost its relevance, attraction and reason for being – yet Top Billing with agile pop culture agility, remains ahead of the pack.

Viewers keep tuning in because Top Billing, even after 25 years, remains inspiring. 

Viewers don't just want to see the spectacular house – the show makes them dream that they can maybe one day have it too. 

Viewers don't just tune in for the celebrities – they watch the interviews, although sometimes too sweet, that are carefully orchestrated to make famous folk come across as accessible, ordinary and relatable.

The glitz, glamour, décor, design, exotic cuisine and luxury travel appearing on Top Billing are at heart not show-off pieces; viewers keep watching because they see things and people they want to emulate.

For 25 years, Top Billing has continued to give South Africans on public television – in a country pummelled by a barrage of negative and disturbing news headlines – an escapist out: a passport saying that it is okay, even if just for an hour a week, to have a dream.     

Thursday night’s must-watch episode at 20:30 on SABC3 will look back with Michelle Garforth-Venter, one of the original presenters, now living in Atlanta in America, reminiscing with her family about her Top Billing years. 

Current presenter Jonathan Boynton-Lee will relive the Top Billing Presenter Search reality show that he won, while Michael Mol’s family will look back on their life over the years with Top Billing.

The one wearing the Top Billing tiara in real life is Patience Stevens who started Top Billing for the SABC 25 years ago with a dream and a lot of guts in one small editing suite, and who is still the executive producer of this glamarama TV train steaming ahead a quarter of a century later.

In another insert on Thursday the show charts the friendship between this indefatigable uber-producer who noticed and roped in Basetsana Kumalo years ago – first as a presenter and then as a production partner – and their incredible producing partnership and friendship working on Top Billing all these years.

kykNET's Cape Town soap Suidooster extended from 4 to 5 episodes per week from April 2018.


The Afrikaans Cape Town set and filmed soap Suidooster for kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) is ramping up production after M-Net's Afrikaans TV division decided to extend the soap to 5 days a week from April 2018.

Suidooster, set in the fictional Ruiterbosch suburb, produced by Suidooster Films and filmed on set at Atlantic Studios, will be shown 5 days a week from 2 April on kykNET & Kie and kykNET (DStv 144) at 18:30.

The first Friday episode of Suidooster will be on Friday 6 April 2018.

"kykNET viewers are incredibly enthusiastic about Suidooster and have asked since the first episode whether the soap couold be broadcast 5 days a week," says Karen Meiring, M-Net director for Afrikaans channels.

"It's really nice for kykNET to break the news before Christmas that the Samsodiens, Octobers, Du Plooys, Gerbers, Daniels brothers and the rest of the Ruiterbosch residents are going to visit South African living rooms every weekday from next year."

Actress Denise Newman who portrays Bridgette October says "although we'll have to learn more words, we do it with a smile because Suidooster fans deserve a Friday episode. Their support of the soap is phenomenal."

Jill Levenberg who plays Mymoena Samsodien says "it's the best Christmas present for Suidooster fans".

The soap started on 16 November 2015 with 3 weekly episodes that got extended to 4 episodes since July 2016.

The soap's permanent cast include stars like Abduraghmaan Adams, Cedwyn Joel, Dean Smith, Denise Newman, Desiré Gardner, Eden Classens, Gantane Kusch, Gideon Lombard, Greta Pietersen, Irshaad Ally, Jill Levenberg, Lauren Joseph, Marcel van Heerden, Marco Spaumer, Maurice Paige, Portia Joel, Simone Biscombe, Theresa Sedras and Vashti Prins.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Puo Pha Productions says unpaid cast, crew and suppliers of Tjovitjo will still be paid; says unpaid problem is its own and not the SABC's fault.


The independent black producers behind the new drama Tjovitjo on SABC1 has come out to say that is is not the public broadcaster's fault that cast, crew and suppliers have not been paid  - but its own - and that those who haven't been paid their money will get it.

Despite initial record ratings on SABC1 for the Sunday night show of 5.7 million viewers for the first episode in August that then levelled off, the show has been struggling to pay everyone involved in the making of it.

Puo Pha Productions in a statement says it's not the SABC's fault that people have gone unpaid and that they will still get their money due.

"The outstanding payment due to cast, crew and suppliers will be paid as per our communication to the affected parties, which we have been in constant communication with," says the production company in a statement. "The last communication was as recent as a week ago."

"Some of our cast, crew and suppliers are understandably upset about how this issue has affected their lives," says Puo Pha Productions.

The company isn't explaining why it hasn't paid people and where the money it received from the SABC has gone. The company is also not giving any payment date.

Puo Pha Productions says "a lack of funds" is preventing the "outstanding final payments to all those involved in the making of Tjovitjo".

Puo Pha Productions says "we'd like to upfront correct the misinformation that the delayed-payments are as a result of the SABC, when in fact the SABC have been the most supportive stakeholder of Tjovitjo."

"It has been more than outstanding and demonstrated incredible understanding to us as black independent producers. This is a relationship we want to grow and cement."

Pou Pha Productions slams the department of trade and industry (DTI) and its Black Filmmakers Rebate Scheme.

"Tjovitjo was a perfect opportunity for the DTI to truly empower small black business but it failed us".

The Right2Know Campaign 'deeply concerned' over MultiChoice's dodgy dealings with SABC, ANN7; calls for Public Protector and parliamentary investigations.


The Right2Know Campaign has been weighing in on Naspers' widening scandal that has engulfed its pay-TV arm MultiChoice and its alleged dodgy dealings and contracts with the SABC and the controversial ANN7 channel from the Guptas, calling for urgent investigations by both the Public Protector and parliament.

At issue is whether the media conglom's lucrative pay-TV unit is or was involved in undue pressure to get the controversial Gupta family through their ANN7 channel, and the SABC, to exercise pressure in return for getting their TV news channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers have denied the kickbacks allegations and the MultiChoice board announced that MultiChoice is starting an internal investigation of itself.

The Right2Know Campaign in a statement says it is "deeply worried by recent media revelations of suspect correspondence between, and dodgy payments from, MultiChoice to SABC and ANN7."

"R2K intends to lodge a complaint with the Public Protector and has written to parliament's communications committee to launch an inquiry."

"It is insinuated that these payments from MultiChoice to the Gupta-linked ANN7 and the SABC were intended as kickbacks to influence government policy on encryption of digital terrestrial television (DTT) signals."

"At the centre of this appears to be Faith Muthambi who then presided over the department of communications, and who is alleged to have pursued MultiChoice’s market dominance agenda in concert with various Gupta associates."

"This would suggest blatant corruption on the part of MultiChoice and Faith Muthambi to advantage themselves in the disastrous roll-out of digital TV, which has seriously undermined the public's right to know."

"If MultiChoice is innocent it should welcome the parliament and the Public Protector's probes," says the Right2Know Campaign.

"It should be noted, though, that this is not the first time there have been revelations of irregularities surrounding digital TV and set-top boxes (STBs)."

"Media reports have also linked Altech UEC and Mxolisi Saady Zuma, the president’s son, to STB procurement bribery."

"The Gupta family has sought to influence government policy on digital TV in order to make money for their various businesses since 2012 when they invited Dina Pule, who was the communications minister then, to their house for canvassing."

"Right2Know notes that the department of communication has to date not released the report of the investigation into alleged STB corruption which was commissioned by the National Treasury and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers."

"R2K has therefore written to parliament’s communications committee calling for an urgent probe into the dealings between MultiChoice, Faith Muthambi and the Guptas, and also will lodge a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector demanding an urgent probe."

"R2K demands that these probes be initiated immediately with the outcomes being publicised in 3 months".

Namec slams MultiChoice's 'blatant abuse of power', disguised 'State Capture' over allegations of trying to influence SA's digital TV encryption policy; will report MultiChoice to Competition Commission.


The National Association for Manufacturers in Electronic Components (Namec) has slammed Naspers' pay-TV operator MultiChoice over its "blatant abuse of power", accusing MultiChoice of being involved in disguised State Capture over allegations of undue influence to change the South African government's policy on digital TV encryption for set-topboxes (STBs).

At issue is whether the media conglom's lucrative pay-TV unit is or was involved in undue pressure to get the controversial Gupta family through their ANN7 channel, and the SABC, to exercise pressure in return for getting their TV news channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers have denied the kickbacks allegations.

Namec lobbied for encryption for the 5 million government-sponsored STB, a policy that was adopted but then suddenly overturned, with these subsidised set-top boxes, filling South African Post Office warehouses, currently not containing any conditional access (CA) system.

Namec says it will report MultiChoice to the Competition Commission for its alleged anti-competitive conduct.

Namec in a statement says "we have learned, with chagrin, revelations that MultiChoice – a monopoly in the pay-television space – got the then minister to unlawfully prevail over the state president to delegate powers that led to her pronouncing and implementing a policy on non-encryption that was to the benefit of MultiChoice".

"This misdemeanour is a blatant abuse of power, at best, and a disguised form of state capture, at worst, and there must be consequences for those implicated."

"Given a myriad of opportunities that include bridging the digital gap by opening access to more people and the economic spin-offs that digital migration offers, it is criminal that the corrupt and greedy have seen it best that our country miss the digital migration deadline as set by the ITU and, in the process, not only compromise our country's public standing, but also the financial well-being of emerging black electronic components manufacturers."

"Our members suffered not only prejudice, but huge financial losses that they have not recovered from."

"Namec calls for the upcoming ANC national conference to set tight timelines on the rapid roll-out of digital terrestrial television (DTT)."

"Implemented properly, DTT can be a lever for radical economic transformation as it will allow our country to increase the number of channels currently available and this will provide new broadcasting entrants endless opportunities to play in the mainstream of our country's economy."

BREAKING. SuperSport again awarded the pay-TV broadcasting rights to SA's Premier Soccer League (PSL) in new 5-year deal.


The pay-sportscaster SuperSport has again been awarded the pay-TV broadcasting rights for South Africa's Premier Soccer League (PSL) for 5-years in a new long-term deal following a public tender process.

SuperSport didn't reveal the sticker price of the broadcast rights acquisition but calls access to the PSL "a cornerstone of the SuperSport broadcast business".

The new half-decade deal means that PSL games will continue to be shown on MultiChoice's DStv until at least 2024.

The cash-strapped South African public broadcaster was unsuccessful in securing any rights, as were the telecoms operator Vodacom.

The SABC sub-licensed on a part-time broadcast basis the rights from SuperSport to show some of the games.

The SABC indicated last month that it would put in a bid and asked the PSL for an extension of the deadline date to put a bid together; a request that was granted.

SuperSport clinched the pay-TV broadcasting rights for the Premier Soccer League in Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2019 to 2024 season.

MultiChoice's SuperSport held the rights for the past decade after the SABC failed to put in a bid 10 years ago when its existing deal expired and the public broadcaster lost the rights.

"We are delighted to have been successful with our bid," says Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO.

"This decision allows us to further entrench an outstanding soccer product in the hearts and minds of supporters across the continent.

"Having recently celebrated our 10-year partnership with the PSL, this is a tremendous opportunity to further help grow and nourish the sport.This agreement will do much for South African football, for footballers and indeed their families," says Gideon Khobane.

SuperSport says PSL matches are "a cornerstone of the SuperSport broadcast business" chiefly because "the league is vibrant, competitive and hugely popular. Capturing its essence week in and week out has been a challenge SuperSport has faithfully grasped".

"We will continue to walk this amazing path with the PSL. SuperSport looks forward to an enduring partnership with the PSL," says Gideon Khobane.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza says it is "delighted to continue its special relationship which has existed over a 10-year period and has seen the Absa Premiership grow into a world class product".

"Under the terms of the arrangement Absa Premiership matches will continue to be covered on a free-to-air basis, acknowledging the requirements of its fans throughout South Africa".

FOX Networks Group set to lose National Geographic channels if Disney and 21st Century Fox deal goes through.

Reporting from America is that The Walt Company and 21st Century Fox are in negotiations about the possible sale of several of 21st Century Fox's assets to Disney, including its movie studios, stake in the United Kingdom's Sky - but also some of its pay-TV channels like FX and National Geographic.

What it means is that if the deal goes through - with reports saying it could happen as soon as early next week - Fox's international business, the FOX Networks Group - will lose the National Geographic channels like National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD that will become the property of Disney.

The National Geographic Channels group is headed by Courteney Monroe, with Fox that currently owns most of the joint venture with the National Geographic Society.

21st Century Fox just want to keep the FOX channel, as well as its news and business channels, FOX News and FOX Business News, that generates the most revenue, as well as FOX Sports.

Besides the National Geographic channels, Disney would also get Fox's film and television production studios (including Blue Sky Studios, FX Productions and Fox Searchlight) and FX Networks.

Disney would also get Fox's 30% stake in the American streaming service Hulu (giving it majority control when this 30% is added to Disney's existing 30%).

In terms of film studios, Fox owns and produces film franchises like The X-Men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four, and co-produces and distributes film franchises like Ridley Scott’s Alien prequels, James Cameron’s Avatar and its sequels, Planet of the Apes, Kingsman and Maze Runner.

All of this will become Disney's.

Fox and the FOX Networks Group will keep its FOX channel (because 21st Century Fox doesn't and can't sell it - Disney already owns a broadcast TV network in the form of ABC and can't own another, and FOX is too lucrative for Fox to sell.)

Yet, if the deal goes through, Disney will become the new owner of a lot of the shows that is on FOX because it will own the studio company (20th Century Fox Television) that produces, co-produces or distributes many of the TV shows and series made for FOX.

This include shows seen on FOX in South Africa and in Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and StarSat like EmpireThe Simpsons, Legion, American Horror Story, American Crime StoryBob’s Burgers and The Exorcistas well as some shows that appear on other channels like This Is Us and Modern Family on M-Net (DStv 101).

There's also shows like The Gifted and The Orville from Fox that's not been picked up and shown yet on South African television.

Then Fox will also offload its share to Disney in things like its stake in India's Star group, a 50% stake in the global production company Endemol Shine Group, and its interest in the Sky pay-TV service in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

e.tv's prime time soap, Scandal!, notches a new highwater mark viewership of over 5 million viewers, as its most watched show continues its ratings growth.


e.tv's prime time weekday soap Scandal!, the red letter free-to-air broadcaster's highest rated show, notched a new highwater mark, pulling over 5 million viewers for the first time on 23 November.

With an audience rating (AR) of 14.4 that equates to 5 007 428 viewers older than 15 who tuned in, the Ochre Moving Pictures produced local soap hit a new top viewership record for the show, as well as for e.tv as the storylines continue to resonate with viewers.

Scandal!'s monthly ratings have been climbing every month throughout 2017 making it the most-watched show in the 19:30 timeslot across all channels since it moved timeslots on the schedule from its 20:00 berth.

e.tv says the channel is impressed and proud of Scandal!'s ratings performance with the show that will kick off its 13th year of production in January 2018 with three of the cast members having been ever-present: Joyce Skefu (who plays Maletsatsi Khumalo), Sandy Mokwena (as Eddie Khumalo) and Kagiso Modupe (as Mangi Nyathi).

"Scandal! has been one of the most watched shows on e.tv and we are thrilled with what they have accomplished," says Ziyanda Mngomezulu, e.tv's general manager of local content.

"This milestone of over 5 million viewers adds to the many highlights the eFamily of channels has had this year and we are looking forward to many more in 2018."

"Rhythm City which leads into Scandal! at 19:00 also drew higher than usual viewers in November compared to previous Novembers with 3.1 million viewers; the highest number reached this year," says Ziyanda Mngomezulu.

Will Smith to present the new National Geographic event series, One Strange Rock, produced by Darren Aronofsky, starting March 2018.


Actor Will Smith has been announced as the presenter of the new limited event series, One Strange Rock, coming to National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) in 2018.

Produced by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, the 10-episode "global event series" will look at planet Earth and inside it and is being produced by Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures.

One Strange Rock is set to be broadcast globally on National Geographic from March 2018 in 172 countries.

"I am thrilled to have Will Smith on board to guide our series," says Darren Aronofsky.

"His charisma, intelligence and humanity will add greatly to the project, helping welcome viewers into this unique narrative about the mind-blowing wonders that make life on Earth possible."

One Strange Rock is the extraordinary story of Earth and why it is special and uniquely brimming with life among a largely unknown but harsh cosmic arena.

Also appearing will be a group of astronauts including Chris Hadfield, Jeff Hoffman, Mae Jemison, Jerry Linenger, Mike Massimino, Leland Melvin, Nicole Stott, and Peggy Whitson.

They will tell the story of Earth through unique perspectives and relate personal memoirs of Earth as seen from space.

"Their personal experiences are portals to vital themes explored throughout the series, including the genesis of life, death, breath, cosmic violence, human intelligence, sacrifice, terraforming and more," says National Geographic.

"By pairing the incomparable, out-of-this-world, global appeal of Will Smith with our rock-star astronauts, who literally went out of this world, we tell the incredible story of the complexities of our planet," says Tim Pastore, president for original programming and production at National Geographic.

"With the distinctive storytelling from Darren Aronofsky, One Strange Rock will be an incredible visual treat, taking audiences from the microscopic to the cosmic, leaving viewers to see and appreciate our planet as never before."

National Geographic says One Strange Rock will "reimagine factual programming and give viewers a cinematic spectacle like they have never seen before".

"We'll unpack the science behind our marvelous planet and provide stories that are entertaining and provocative".

National Geographic released the first teaser trailer for One Strange Rock on Tuesday:

M-Net reveals Thembisa Mdoda and Frank Opperman as the first 2 of 12 celebrities who will take part in Dancing with the Stars SA from February 2018.


M-Net has announced the former Our Perfect Wedding presenter Thembisa Mdoda on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and the veteran drama and comedy actor actor Frank Opperman appearing on kykNET (DStv 144) as the first 2 of 12 celebrities who will be taking part in Dancing with the Stars SA.

Dancing with the Stars SA will start in 2018 on M-Net (DStv 101) and is retitled from the longrunning Strictly Come Dancing SA show that was on SABC3 but discontinued due to a lack of money at the SABC.

The pay-TV broadcaster also announced the starting date for Dancing with the Stars SA, with the glitter floor format show produced by Rapid Blue that will be starting on M-Net on Sunday 4 February 2018.

M-Net licensed the Dancing with the Stars SA format show from BBC Worldwide.

Tracey Lange from kykNET's glamour magazine show Bravo! and Chris Jaftha from SABC3's glamour magazine show Top Billing are the presenters of Dancing with the Stars South Africa.

"I have always wanted to be part of Dancing With The Stars," says Thembisa Mdoda who won the title of Best TV Presenter at the 2017 DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards.

"In the past, I’d watch the show, practice the steps and give myself 10 out of 10s! I am so excited and can't wait to make new memories."

"Mostly, I'm eager to learn some new steps and to have fun."

Frank Opperman says "some people climb Everest for fun. Some walk to the South Pole for kicks, some people swim the seven oceans for pleasure and some people dance with the stars because they have gone insane!"

Rapid Blue and M-Net chose 12 stars to assemble an eclectic group of celebrity dancing stars all from various different backgrounds who will come from the worlds of acting, comedy and sport.

All 12 are already taking dancing lessons and are practising for the show.

ANC political party's chief whip Jackson Mthembu calls for a parliamentary investigation into MultiChoice over dubious ANN7 and SABC dealings: 'If we want to call that State Capture, I have no problem'.

Dr Jack & Curtis cartoon on Radio 702's EyewitnessNews (EWN) 


Jackson Mthembu, the ANC political party's chief whip on Tuesday called for an urgent parliamentary investigation into media conglom Naspers and its pay-TV unit MultiChoice amidst a growing scandal of allegations regarding improper corporate influence by the pay-TV company on South Africa's digital TV process.

Naspers and MultiChoice are increasingly mired in a barrage of damaging news headlines and revelations regarding MultiChoice's alleged undue corporate influence on the controversial Gupta family's ANN7 (DStv 405) channel and the SABC to allegedly help influence the South African government's policy on digital TV in MultiChoice's favour.

Jackson Mthembu, the ANC communications committee chairperson, addressed journalist at the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the political party’s 54th national elective conference.

"The matter should be investigated and all those who might have done things not in accordance with our stated objectives must be called to account after a proper investigation," Jackson Mthembu said.

"Now if we want to call that state capture, I have no problem."

"If you want to benefit and you then want to influence government policy towards your benefit as a private citizen or corporate citizen, indeed you might be trying to capture the state for your benefit," Jackson Mthembu said.

At issue is whether the media conglom's lucrative pay-TV unit is or was involved in undue pressure to get the controversial Gupta family through their ANN7 channel, and the SABC, to exercise pressure in return for getting their TV news channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers that have denied the kickbacks allegations and have been very slow to respond to the growing avalanche of criticism and calls for parent company Naspers and its chairperson Koos Bekker and CEO Bob van Dijk - not MultiChoice - to launch an independent investigation into the shocking allegations.

On Tuesday Naspers shares tumbled 4% on news that the United States law firm, Pomerantz - specialising in class action securities law suits - has started its own investigation into possible Naspers securities fraud and other unlawful business practices.

Naspers shares tumble more than 4% on Tuesday on news that US law firm Pomerantz is investigating Naspers and could bring a possible class action law suit from Naspers investors.

Dr Jack & Curtis cartoon on Radio 702's EyewitnessNews (EWN) 


Naspers chairperson Koos Bekker is now branded a South African TV villain as an ongoing torrent of bad press continues to engulf the embattled Naspers leader and its pay-TV arm MultiChoice over a widening possible "State Capture" scandal swirling.

Naspers and MultiChoice are being dragged deeper and deeper into negative headlines inflicting serious damage to these brands and brand reputations over its alleged dubious dealings with, and massive payments to, the controversial Gupta family's ANN7 (DStv 405) TV channel and the SABC.

At issue is whether the mega-television behemoth is or was involved in undue pressure to get ANN7 and the SABC to exercise pressure in return for lucrative pay-for-play channel contracts on DStv, and got the South African government to change its encryption policy for set-top boxes (STBs) for the country's faltering switch from analogue to digital TV.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers that have denied the kickbacks allegations and have been very slow to respond to the public perception brand and reputation crisis, have been overly arrogant where it did respond and in instances where executives spoke publicly.

On Tuesday Naspers shares tumbled over 4% on news that the United States law firm, Pomerantz - specialising in class action securities law suits - has started its own investigation into possible Naspers securities fraud and other unlawful business practices.

On Tuesday Naspers caused the worst daily loss on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in two months since September as its share price sagged to R3 520.

Pomerantz said it is looking for Naspers investors who want to join a possible class action case against Naspers after Naspers' American Depositary Receipt price fell 5.58% on 1 December 2017.

The MultiChoice board on Friday announced that it is starting an internal investigation of itself; with parent Naspers that said it won't get involved as public and investor criticism over Naspers and MultiChoice's slow and insufficient response to the growing scandal keeps building.

Naspers issued a statement on Friday claiming it's being victimised and that persistent "baiting" by the media, the public, investors and political parties for Naspers to intervene in MultiChoice's affairs, should stop because it's allegedly "not conducive to an open democracy".

On Tuesday Naspers in a statement said that it had not been informed of any legal action from any of its investors and that it took allegations that it had engaged in business malpractice seriously.