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Retro old television in vintage white wall background (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

The Hawks has raided 13 companies as part of a 10-month investigation by the Competition Commission  into collusion related to a R5 billion set-top box tender, according to the Sunday Times report.

South Africa is in the process of migrating from analogue digital terrestrial broadcasting, which will necessitate the use of decoders to transmit programming.

SA has been planning for digital migration since 2008. The initial deadline, as determined by the International Telecommunication Union, was June 17, 2015, but South Africa missed that deadline.

In March 2015, Cabinet approved the final amendments to the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy, which paved the way for the implementation of digital migration.

The Sunday Times reported that a company that allegedly offered one of President Jacob Zuma’s son a R54 million bribe to swing a government contract was among 13 firms raided by the Hawks last week in connection with collusion in a R5 billion set-top box tender.

The search-and-seizure by the Hawks were carried in the following companies:

  • African Digital Solutions
  • Altech
  • Altron Altech
  • Veltronix
  • Tellumat
  • Equitron
  • QEC
  • Worldtel
  • Grand Tellumat Manufacturing
  • Altech Multimedia
  • Named Skills Development Institute
  • Named Western Cape”
  • Namec NPO

Makgale Mohlala, the manager of the Competition Commission’s cartel division, said in an affidavit that some  senior employees at the companies had denied under oath that any form of collaboration took place.

In August, THE Sunday Times reported that Mxolisi Saady Zuma was accused of trying to broker a R54 million bribe to use his father’s influence to swing a government contract.

The newspaper said the bribe fee for Mxolisi was discussed in March 2015, emails between Altech UEC executives show.

In the e-mails, which the Sunday Times has seen, Mxolisi is referred to as SZ.

Former Altech MD Danie du Toit wrote an e-mail on March 16, 2015 to former chief operating officer Laurence Savage, saying: “Unconfirmed but strong rumours that UEC will be awarded 6m of the total allocation of which 4m in the next 12 months. Order expected from 20 March. Question, do we still sign up SZ? R54m + in fees. We achieved without his support.”

Last month, former Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo established a Digital Migration Advisory Council, which consists of representatives from broadcasters, telecommunication companies, relevant government departments and State-owned entities.

She said the council is working around the clock to develop a project plan towards the December 2018 deadline.

The South African government has committed to giving five million subsidised STBs to poor TV-owning households.

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