Former editor of the now defunct ANN7 TV news channel, Rajesh Sundaram, has revealed how the station managed to buy 100 hours of archive video footage from the SABC at a cost of -what he describes as peanuts.
Sundaram is testifying for the second day at the State Capture Commission in Parktown, Johannesburg continuing to provide damning allegations of the Gupta brothers and former president, Jacob Zuma.
Sundaram says purchasing footage from the public broadcaster was easy for the Gupta brothers and their associates as they were acquainted with the president at the time.
“The Gupta brothers and Mr Nazeem Howa had a very sweet deal with the SABC where about 100 hours of footage would be given at throwaway prices – what he described as peanuts. This was surprising for me because the SABC was set to launch its own TV station and we were potentially a rival for that station. I was told by Nazeem, he would boast about it that this was the deal that he got done through his influence, that they didn’t have to pay a lot of bribes and it was done by taking people out for a meal or buying them drinks because just the name of the Guptas and everyone knew they had the blessings of the president who would make things very easy for them,” says Sundaram.
Sundaram says that an ANN7 archivist was sent to the Public Broadcaster by former Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa.
“He was asked to go with what are known as mini-dvd tapes and go to the SABC over a period of about a month and record for about eight hours footage that was there and get that back to the office over the weekends. He would digitise it which was basically taking it from tapes and putting it on a server so that it could be used for broadcast,” says Sundaram.
Sundaram says the deal that was made with the SABC was virtually non-existent with SABC executives, often persuaded over a meal and the understanding that the Gupta family had links with Zuma.
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