Zuma’s plan to “get rich quick” on SA’s new set-top boxes and digital migration: report

Following a spate of emails tying the Gupta family and president Jacob Zuma to state capture, more allegations have emerged implicating the president and members of his family in a bid to use their access to the state to enrich themselves.

This time, a senior ANC official has submitted a sworn affidavit to Parliament accusing Zuma and some of his family members for running a fraudulent scheme surrounding South Africa’s digital migration.

According to the Sunday Times, public service and administration chief director Brent Simon has submitted a sworn affidavit to speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, accusing the president of lying to parliament when he said he had never introduced members of his family to government officials for business purposes.

Simons cited a number of incidents in which he says he saw Zuma “directing” members of his family to the late public service and administration minister, Collins Chabane.

According to a correspondence seen by the Sunday Times, in 2015 one of Zuma’s sons, Mxolisi Saady Zuma, negotiated with top executives at technology giant Altech (now part of Altron) for a R54-million “consultancy fee” in return for his helping the company win a government tender to manufacture set-top boxes for South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital television.

Digital Migration

On 8 June the Constitutional Court ruled that the subsidised set-top boxes that government has earmarked for five million poor households can now go ahead.

Production of the first batch of 1.5 million decoders was halted in late 2015 because of legal challenges to the policy.

Over 500,000 decoders have already been manufactured and are kept in South African Post Office warehouses waiting to be distributed.

To-date, the digital migration has missed all of its deadlines for implementation, and is behind by several years. It is now expected to be fully completed by December 2018.

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