Controversy continues over payment by South African province to CNBC Africa (updated again).

Posted: 16 Apr 2010

"The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a forensic investigation into the annual deal with CNBC Africa and a declaration of the penalties incurred by the Gauteng [province of South Africa] taxpayer for cancelling the contract three years early. Gauteng DA spokesman for economic affairs Gavin Lewis yesterday asked who benefited from a deal that did not appear to be in the interest of the Gauteng taxpayer, calling for the present Gauteng economic development MEC, Firoz Cachalia, to stop avoiding the issue and respond to questions raised about the deal or institute a probe. Lewis, who intends to raise the CNBC Africa matter with the auditor-general, said the deal was 'so one-sided against citizens of Gauteng that it must raise suspicions as to why it was agreed to in the first place'. ... The deal, signed when Paul Mashatile was MEC, with the Gauteng Film Commission allegedly undertook to pay the channel [US$] 3m a year if CNBC Africa was unable to attract sufficient advertising." Chantelle Benjamin, Business Day (Johannesburg), 8 April 2010.
     "CNBC Africa recently released a statement [regarding] the cancelling of an agreement between the business channel and the Gauteng Film Commission: 'CNBC Africa produced a series of programmes called “Business Spotlight” with sponsorship and associated advertising via the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC). This agreement has now ended. The editorial control of all programmes rested with CNBC Africa at all times.'", 8 April 2010.
     "The US-based CNBC International defended its South African arm this week, with spokesman Brian Steel saying the channel retains a reputation for being 'unbiased everywhere we operate'. CNBC owns no shares in CNBC Africa, but the local business is an 'affiliate' of the US brand. ... [N]either CNBC's US office, nor the South African business, were willing to explain why the organisation initially denied the existence of such a 'guarantee' from Gauteng. In 2007, CNBC's former chief operating officer Trevor Ormerod told Business Day there was no 'soft deal' with Gauteng, or any contract providing a guarantee to pay a shortfall in advertising sales. 'Gauteng said they would like to advertise, and we have supported them with a (normal) advertising deal, that's all,' he said then." Rob Rose, The Times (Johannesburg), 10 April 2010.
     Update: "Moneyweb can reveal that in 2008 CNBC Africa was paid R2.65m by the ANC-led Western Cape government for what was described as an 'advertising agreement'. ... Although CNBCA claims that its editorial policy was never compromised clause 2.1 of the advertising 'agreement' says 'these half an hour features may include content on the six areas of development, tourism, ICT, agriculture, boat building, renewable energy and creative industries, and the final schedule will be decided on by Wesgro [the province's official investment and trade promotion agency]'. ... When the broadcaster first launched, many hoped it would become Africa's premier source of business news, but with its high-staff turnover and its forever changing line up, one wonders if its current form is what it had in mind?" Lindo Xulu, Moneyweb (Johannesburg), 14 April 2010.
     "Evidence is mounting that the Thabo Mbeki administration and those of the previous regimes in Nigeria and Kenya struck deals with the supposedly independent television station CNBC Africa using taxpayers' money to buy themselves a mouthpiece." Moneyweb, 15 April 2010. See previous post about same subject.

Copyright 2006–2019 Kim Andrew Elliott.