The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has confirmed that it will investigate subscription TV company Multichoice, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

This followed a complaint lodged by the DA in November last year requesting that Icasa conduct an inquiry into payments made by Multichoice to ANN7 and the SABC, allegedly in exchange for political influence over government policy on digital migration in its favour, DA spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said.

“In a letter, Icasa indicates that the matter has been referred to its compliance and consumer affairs division for investigation,” she said.

The DA was pleased that Icasa had agreed that the payments required investigation. South Africans deserved to know whether the payments were indeed above board, as Multichoice had maintained.

The DA believed that while companies such as Multichoice should be allowed the space to do business and create much-needed employment, their conduct should at all times be within the bounds of the law, in line with business ethics, and in an environment where competition was not stifled.

“There is no issue with companies lobbying for policy positions through debate, but a situation where policy is bought cannot be allowed. It is tantamount to policy capture. The DA looks forward to further engaging with Icasa on this matter for clarity to be provided once and for all,” Van Damme said.