By Bekithemba Ndebele
State capture saga continues to hunt the Gaptas. It is alleged that Vuyo Batyi lost his job as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) chairperson due to pressure to approve Guptas bid to optain a free-to-air licence.
According to the Sunday Times report, Muthambi withdraw the appointment of Batyi as Icasa chair despite giving her an appointment letter. The change of decision to appoint Batyi was due to that she declined to approve a bid by the Guptas to launch a free-to-air 24-hour news channel.
Batyi told the Sunday Times she is taking the minister to court and Muthambi will be served with court order once the charges are finalised.
A source told the Sunday Times that, Muthambi allegedly told Batyi her job came “with conditions” therefore she had been appointed only for a year to “prove herself.”
The Guptas have meanwhile denied the allegations with regard to the issue. According to News24, the Gupta owned Oakbay Investments said in an email response, “There is no truth whatsoever in these latest allegations.”
Oakbay added that “yet another example of media capture – we have never been charged with anything and have been cleared in a formal NEC-ANC inquiry – yet many media consider us guilty by innuendo”.
“This is clearly part of the ongoing politically coordinated campaign against us. If true, why not raised with authorities at the time, or in NEC probe?”
Meanwhile, the Gupta owned Infinity Media Networks was one of five applicants for a free-to-air digital broadcast licence. However, none of them were granted because they all failed to comply with Icasa’s requirements. These applicants were Levoca 565 trading as Hola Media, Change TV Network, Medo Investments and Rubicon Investments .
The Guptas have majority shares in Oakbay Investments, which owns ANN7 TV news channel, The New Age newspaper, Sahara and Optimum coal mine. They also have shares in Oakbay Resources and Energy, which owns the mining company Shiva.
Featured image: buzzsouthafrica.com