Thursday, November 30, 2017

MultiChoice now caught in lies as the Naspers and MultiChoice scandal around its undue influence of South Africa's digital TV migration process keeps growing.

MultiChoice is now caught in lies as Naspers and MultiChoice's scandal keeps growing about its alleged involvement undue influence on the SABC to chance the government's decisions on set-top boxes (STBs) and unencrypted access for digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers is now being linked to serious allegations of corruption and State Capture through links and exorbitant amounts of money paid to the controversial Gupta family, the disgraced former minister of communications Faith Muthambi, the criticised ANN7 (DStv 405) channel, and the SABC.

MultiChoice has been asked in a media enquiry if it will be doing any investigation, and if any such investigation would be internal or external but MultiChoice has not given any clear answer to the question.

What is becoming clear is more and more apparent lies from MultiChoice.

In shocking new #GuptaLeaks, last week dropped a bombshell email trove, showing how MultiChoice made a dubious R25 million payment to the Guptas for its low-rated, biased and mistake-filled trash channel, in addition to upping the money MultiChoice pays to ANN7 from R50 million to a whopping R141 million per year.

The emails revealed that MultiChoice is paying ANN7 R141.38 million as part of its contract for the channel, a channel that stands accused of fostering racial discord, biased and unbalanced coverage and targeting politicians who are against president Jacob Zuma.

According to a 4th channel amendment agreement signed by Glen Marques in September 2015, MultiChoice upped its payment from R50 million to R100 million to a staggering R141 380 000 per year although ANN7 is the least watched of the three local TV news channels with SABC News and eNCA as rivals.

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry said that "the fee structure for the ANN7 contract is in line with the costs of developing and running such a channel, and ANN7 is definitely not the highest-paid local news channel on the DStv platform".

"The R25 million fee is also not unusual. In this case, it was a pro rata payment in terms of an amendment agreement."

"The fee structure for the ANN7 contract is in line with the costs of developing and running such a channel, and ANN7 is definitely not the highest-paid local news channel on the DStv platform."

So MultiChoice said paying this massive amount of money is "not unusual" as far as a TV news channel is concerned.

Yesterday the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party's Phumzile Van Damme revealed an explosive transcript of a 6 June 2013 meeting between MultiChoice's then CEO Imtiaz Patel and chairperson Nolo Letele with the SABC board and executives. 

"We would not normally pay for a news channel. Okay. We don't," Imtiaz Patel said in the meeting according to the transcript.

"There is a unique relationship with… But, besides that we don't pay for any other news channel, anyway, okay. So we wouldn't normally pay you for a news channel."

MultiChoice either lied then, or MultiChoice lied now and it doesn't look good for the pay-TV operator who has so far ignored calls from the public and political parties for an investigation into allegations of collusion, corruption, and undue influence in South Africa's digital TV migration process.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

BREAKING. BBC is ending its BBC Worldwide brand; folding it into BBC Studios as a new single commercial entity that will be known as BBC Studios.

The BBC is announcing that it is ending its BBC Worldwide commercial arm brand and folding it into BBC Studios. The combined, single commercial entity will be known as BBC Studios.

The BBC in a statement on Wednesday says that moving forward with one combined unit "will ensure the BBC is best placed to succeed both creatively and commercially and will better serve licence fee payers".

"At a time of an increasingly competitive and global market for production and distribution, this new organisational structure will bring the BBC into line with the rest of the industry, integrating programme production, sales and distribution in a single entity," says the BBC.

The commercial activities already carried out by BBC Worldwide - including content financing, sales and commercial channels - and BBC Studios, the BBC’s main programme production arm, is being combined into a simplified organisation.

BBC Studios launched as a commercial subsidiary in April 2017 and makes over 2 000 hours of programming a year.

Following the restructure, BBC Studios will employ approximately 3 000 permanent staff.

BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide already worked together on for instance the new documentary series Blue Planet II, currently shown in the United Kingdom, Asia and parts of Europe and set to debut on MultiChoice's DStv in Africa around February 2018.

"Joining forces will allow them to operate more simply and efficiently," says the BBC.

"All of the major established United Kingdom industry players integrate their programme production and distribution in this way."

"The TV industry has been changing fast and major global players are investing vast sums in content - but not primarily in British content reflecting British lives," says the BBC.

"A successful new BBC Studios will be better placed to make the investments others will not."

"Production arm BBC Studios is internationally recognised for making high-quality British programmes across a broad range of genres and specialisms. Boasting 81 awards so far this year, its output includes the highly acclaimed Blue Planet II, Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Roadshow, EastEnders, Top Gear, the award-winning drama Three Girls, Louis Theroux’s latest documentary series and Drugsland".

"In a fast-changing TV industry, securing the future success of the BBC is vital," says BBC director-general, Tony Hall.

"Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient."

The new BBC Studios will be led by Tim Davie as CEO and Mark Linsey as chief creative officer.

"Creating one company, in line with market norms, is a natural step in this market," says Tim Davie in the BBC statement.

"The new BBC Studios will be focused on the highest quality British content, underpinning our future financial return to licence fee payers."

"It will allow us to better serve customers, independent partners and the wider industry, resulting in world-class British productions for audiences in the UK and overseas. I am excited about the prospects ahead, and delighted to be part of the new organisation".

Mark Linsey says: "Bringing BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide together will help secure the BBC's future and guarantee our unrivalled creativity, risk-taking, quality and range."

MultiChoice upgrades M-Net Movies Zone to high definition (HD) from 1 December; channel proposition changing slightly to offer film festivals.

MultiChoice is upgrading the M-Net Movies Zone (DStv 139) channel to high definition (HD) from 1 December.

M-Net Movies Zone is available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access subscribers.

M-Net says it's tweaking the channel proposition of M-Net Movies Zone, that in the future will be running movie festivals, and mini-festivals built around specific themes, franchises and events.

An example is a Jaws min-festival that will start on 3 December with Jaws at 18:20, followed by the sequel Jaws 2 on Saturday 9 December at 19:00 and Jaws 3 on Saturday 16 December at 18:20.

Jaws: The Revenge will be broadcast on M-Net Movies Zone on Saturday 23 December at 18:25.

A Rocky film festival will be broadcast in February 2018.

For the holiday period M-Net Movies Zone is doing a "M-Net Movies Zone Kids Club with 5 hours of kids films daily between 10:00 and 15:00 on weekdays and between 09:00 and 14:00 on weekends.

Films include Paddington, Casper, Hop, Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat and others.

"We trust that the rejuvenation of our M-Net Movies Zone schedule will turn the channel into a default destination, especially for our DStv Access customers, but will also provide great entertainment to all movie lovers," says Jan du Plessis, director for M-Net channels.

Democratic Alliance reveals explosive transcript of 'clandestine' SABC meeting where then MultiChoice CEO Imtiaz Patel allegedly says DStv would pay SABC to support change to the government's digital TV in favour of MultiChoice.

The Democratic Alliance's member of parliament Phumzile Van Damme has revealed an explosive transcript of what it calls a "clandestine" SABC meeting on 6 June 2013 - suggesting that the pay-TV operator MultiChoice sought to pay the SABC R100 million for its 24-hour SABC News (DStv 404) channel in exchange for the SABC's influence to change South Africa's digital terrestrial TV process in favour of MultiChoice.

Phumzile Van Damme says the minutes form part of hundreds of documents provided by the SABC in December 2016 to the ad hoc committee on the SABC inquiry.

According to the DA, the transcript of the SABC meeting support allegations in media reports last week that MultiChoice paid the controversial Gupta family millions of rand for its highly-criticised ANN7 (DStv 405) channel on DStv, in exchange for similar influence over the government's position on set-top boxes (STBs).

The release of the meeting's transcript awkwardly comes on the day that Naspers, MultiChoice's parent company, is releasing its interim results, with Naspers chairperson Koos Bekker who has not yet come out publicly to announce any possible investigation by Naspers into the flurry of allegations.

MultiChoice is the latest company to be caught up in the messy dealings of the now-notorious Gupta family embroiled in allegations of State Capture in South Africa.

According to the DA political party, the SABC minutes reveal a "clandestine" meeting attended by the former SABC board members and executives, including the nowdisgraced Ellen Tshabalala, the controversial and shamed Hlaudi MotsoenengLulama Mokhobo who quit as SABC CEO, and Jimi Matthews who eventually quit as acting SABC CEO, with the then CEO of MultiChoice, Imtiaz Patel.

Imtiaz Patel is at pains during the meeting to explain that MultiChoice doesn't ordinarily pay TV stations for their news channels to be carried on DStv, but that he would be able to convice the MultiChoice board to pay for the SABC's SABC News channel, if a set of "deal breaker conditions" in MultiChoice's favour were met.

During the meeting Imtiaz Patel tells the SABC:

We would not normally pay for a news channel. Okay. We don’t. There’s a unique relationship with that everybody espouses etc. It’s got unique conditions. They’re supposed to supply us with many more channels and it’s quite tricky at this point in time. But, besides that we don’t pay for any other news channel, anyway, Okay.”

Imtiaz Patel goes on to say:

“…we need to justify to our Board to say why would we pay you R100 million a year which is a lot of money. Okay. It’s after tax money. To make R100m net you have to make R150m or R200m, R300m in turnover. We are looking for the excuse and the excuse for us is to be able to justify to our Board that you are giving us something in return. 

What are you giving us in return for the R100m?
 We’re saying you giving us a news channel, you’re giving us a general entertainment channel from your archives, your old, you know. We are less focused on the core elements of it being new content. And we’ve been sort of quite open about it with Lulama, saying even if it’s old stock. 

And thirdly, we are saying we also need to justify this problem of conditional access [unencrypted set-top boxes] is a big problem. And in order to justify that we’re saying in addition to that, your additional channels will be available on our platform.”

Imtiaz Patel also says:

So, in addition to the R100m in cash, you will be getting a lot of advertising revenue, probably the equivalent, even more, I don’t know, I don’t know the details, I don’t know to what extent, you know, given that kind of base, how much you can monetise it

In return, we can justify to our Board that, we are paying this extraordinary sum of money but we are getting something for it
That was the simple logic that we applied in our own minds. So I’m giving you a sense and therefore I’m hoping that if we can co-create a solution, we are also happy to co-create a solution. 

We are not coming here saying this is, you know, this is the be all and end all, you know. But I must say though, Lulama, that this is the very important point for us. It’s a deal breaker point, I’ll be honest. And I have re-iterated it. I have said this to you before. 

The DA in a statement about the meeting's transcript says that "the implications of MultiChoice paying kickbacks in order to not solidify its dominance in the pay-TV sector, but also secure influence over government policy in its favour, are serious".

"It speaks to a company willing to stop at nothing, including paying kickbacks to the Gupta family, thus supporting State Capture, in order to get its way".

The DA in its statement says that "while companies should be allowed the space to conduct business in a free market system, there must be adherence to business ethics and the law."

"This matter, and in particular the payments, now require thorough investigation by the South African broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). The DA has written to Icasa requesting an investigation," says the party.

"The DA had hoped that following media reports about ANN7 last week, MultiChoice would take the opportunity to play open cards by revealing all."

"It refused to do so. It is now left to Icasa to reveal the truth."

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus seeking comment from the company after the Democratic Alliance meeting and transcript release, says: "“This was not a clandestine meeting. No kickbacks were paid. This was part of a negotiation meeting with the SABC. The final decision on this proposal lay with the SABC board".

The SABC has also been approached for comment about the DA party's statement and the transcript of the SABC meeting, and the public broadcaster's reaction will be added here when received.

Other fascinating titbits from the transcript reveals:

- According to the transcript, Lulama Mokhobo is clearly on such friendly terms that she uses the nickname "Imi" for Imtiaz Patel in the meeting, instead of his full name.

- Nolo Letele, MultiChoice South Africa chairperson, also attended the meeting.

- The then SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala tells MultiChoice: "Since you have presented this condition [unencrypted access], if you can just give a day for us to bounce it to the minister of communications, because we have an unclear position on the matter':

- Then MultiChoice CEO Imtiaz Patel reveals that MultiChoice and the SABC previously wanted to do an agreement in terms of Olympic Games broadcast coverage: "'Unfortunately your previous board, its easy to ... we can rubbish them now, they’re gone. But they didn't sign the agreement unfortunately".

- The then SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo is clearly hungering after the premium type pay-TV channel content for the SABC that is available to DStv's pay-TV subscribers. 
She tells Imtiaz Patel: "It will be good for us to get PBS [public broadcasting system] type content, something like the History Channel, Discovery Channel - those kinds of channels, the ones that really talk to us". 

- Jimi Matthews to MultiChoice deadpans on getting the SABC News channel up and running: "I engage with the bureaucracy of this place [SABC]'.
The then SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo then responds: "Oh, Jimmy."

- The then SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala: "I want to request that we keep this matter confidential" and says: "We know how print media reacts to this kind of thing".

Melissa Rivers on E!'s Fashion Police cancellation: 'It makes me sad. Not my decision'.

With the series finale of the iconic Fashion Police that is broadcast tonight on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) at 20:00 with a special farewell episode, Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa said the show's cancellation wasn't her decision.

E! announced the cancellation of Fashion Police last month that is ending tonight with a look-back special filled with memorable clips, entitled "Fashion Police - The Farewell".

Fashion Police started on E! 20 years ago - then called Fashion Review - but the latest iteration began in 2010 as a weekly show and then as a series of special episodes after big Hollywood award shows after the death of Joan Rivers and a reconstituted panel.

It was Joan Rivers who originally coined the term "Who you wearing?" and she literally invented the modern version of red carpet coverage in 1995 as she ran alongside the red carpet at award shows and thrust mics into celebrities' faces while making on-the-spot hilarious comments about their clothes.

Tonight's series finale is filled with clips looking back at some of the funniest comments of Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, George Kotsiopoulos, Kelly Osbourne, NeNe Leakes, Margaret Cho and Brad Goreski who were all part of the Fashion Police panel over the years.

Tonight's episode will also incorporate clips from an unaired episode featuring Joan Rivers and the panelists paying tribute to 80's fashions with Joan in her full-on, breath-taking, caustic, classic and shockingly hilarious "Joan" mode.

Joan Rivers for instance rips into Joan Collins wearing a puffy pink dress, saying: "'If I wanted to see something old and pink with white fur around it, then I'd just get naked and look down".

The farewell episode will also highlight the show’s most memorable segments, including “Bitch Stole My Look,” “Guess Me From Behind” and “Starlet or Streetwalker”.

Also included is an extended montage of the celebrity guests that had visited the show over the years with a dazzling array of top Hollywood stars who came because it was Joan Rivers who asked.

Asked why Fashion Police is ending, Melissa Rivers told Wendy Williams on The Wendy Williams Show that "It makes me sad. Not my decision. But I have to say, what show stays on for 22 years?"

"It's very bitter-sweet. I'm so grateful to E! and NBCUniversal for believing in me after my mom passed and letting the show have another three years," said Melissa Rivers who was also an executive producer of the show before she also took over the hosting duties in 2015 after Joan Rivers' unexpected death.

The final Fashion Police episode entitled "Fashion Police - The Farewell", will be broadcast on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) in South Africa and across Africa tonight, Wednesday 29 November, at 20:00 with a rebroadcast at 23:40.

Nicollette Sheridan cast as the new Alexis Carrington in the Dynasty reboot on Netflix.

Nicollette Sheridan, better known for her role as Edie Britt in Desperate Housewives, has been cast in the iconic role as the new Alexis Carrington in the reboot of Dynasty on Netflix.

The CW network showing the recently started Dynasty, a reboot of the hit 1980's glitzy drama series from Aaron Spelling, announced that Nicollette Sheridan will be joining the new show in the role originally made famous by Joan Collins.

Outside of America Netflix holds the show's international rights.

As in the original version, Nicollette Sheridan as the ever-scheming Alexis, will return unexpectedly to create chaos and turmoil in the lives of Blake (Grant Show), Cristal (Nathalie Kelley) and the rest of the Carrington clan.

Alexis is the first wife of Blake and the mother of both Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) and Steven (James Mackay).

In a one sentence statement, the show says Alexis "will return unexpectedly to their world, challenging Blake’s marriage to Cristal, seeking to reunite with her children, and fighting to claim what is hers".

It is Nicollette Sheridan's first TV role since her contentious axing from Desperate Housewives and her lawsuit against the show and ABC Studios.

In the original series Alexis - then still shrouded in mystery and hidden under a big-rimmed hat - made her first appearance in the first season finale of Dynasty when she dramatically strutted into court.

In the new version, produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Fake Empire, Nicollette Sheridan will start filming in early-2018, with the Alexis character who will be making her first appearance during the last few episodes of the first season.

The Big Debate bursts back onto the SABC, with - surprise! - Redi Tlhabi.

The Big Debate has suddenly burst back onto the SABC, instantly becoming the biggest symbol of the public broadcaster’s top executives to signal their serious effort to regain public trust in its current affairs offering and to try and repair it severely dented news output credibility.

As surprising and astounding, is that none other that the veteran and extremely skilled presenter and interviewer Redi Tlhabi is suddenly back as the moderator after she anchored the earlier seasons.

The Big Debate, with several significant updates for the social media and internet age, made its 8th season debut on the exact SABC TV channel – SABC2 – where it disappeared from exactly four years ago.

Asked how the revival of The Big Debate on the SABC came about, Thabiso Bhengu, senior content producer on the show, told the SABC’s Morning Live this week that “when a notorious somebody left the SABC, the SABC was happy to have us back”.

“And we’re happy to be helping the SABC to become what it should be, which is the best public broadcaster in the world,” he said.

In November 2013 The Big Debate – just before it was supposed to start and with three episodes of its 5th season already filmed – was abruptly yanked and permanently removed from the SABC2 schedule just days before broadcast, including an episode devoted to the Marikana Massacre.

The debate show, from Broad Daylight Films Foundation and and executive produced by Ben Cashdan, was culled from the SABC airwaves on the direct orders of the then acting chief operating officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

At the time Hlaudi Motsoeneng was only in the beginning phase of what was to become a sweeping, widening and pervasive censorship drive by the controversial executive.

His later-described “reign of terror” would eventually see the SABC impose draconian newsroom censorship that extended to, and ended with, his shocking ban in 2016 on showing visuals on SABC News of the destruction of property and infrastructure during public protests.   

The SABC said at the time that The Big Debate was “incorrectly commissioned and compromised the editorial oversight of the SABC newsroom”.

The SABC-neutered season of The Big Debate was instantly picked up by eNCA (DStv 403) and that broadcast three seasons of the lively town hall debate type show that ended with a 7th season in 2016 with Masechaba Lekalake as moderator.

A bold, brazen return of free speech
Now The Big Debate is “back” on SABC2 as a hard-hitting current affairs talk show that had no less than the topic of “State Capture” for its first new episode.

It is something that would have been unheard of on the SABC of just a year ago, with widely disparate guests on The Big Debate ranging from Floyd Shivambu (EFF deputy president) and Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi (ANN7 owner) to Vytjie Mentor (former ANC chief whip) – all sitting and debating each other passionately in the black backdrop studio interspersed with a few banners.

“We invited the president, we invited the Guptas, we invited Brian Molefe, so that they can also contribute to this narrative,” said Redi Tlhabi in a refreshing frankness on the SABC airwaves.

“They didn’t take up the invitation. When people are not here it is not because we don’t want to hear them. But for some reason they don’t want to participate in this debate,” she said.

With the show’s bold and brazen return, the SABC is sending a very strong signal and a significant marker that the struggling public broadcaster is working hard on turning around the erosion the past few years of its current affairs programming and news, and the trust in it.

The Big Debate made its debut on Saturday evening and surprised when it started with moderator Redi Tlhabi, who recently left her perch behind the Radio 702 microphone and said that she plans to go to America for further academic studies.

Redi Tlhabi was one of the original moderators of the show’s early seasons before Siki Mgabadeli and Masechaba Lekalake took over, with nobody that ever expected her to return.

As an assertive and extremely knowledgeable and experienced interviewer, the well-liked moderator on Saturday evening brought her credibility and cache to bear on the show, with Redi Tlhabi who instantly elevated the SABC’s current affairs credibility despite The Big Debate being slotted into a doldrum timeslot on television’s least watched day of the week.

Like democracy the first live broadcast episode of The Big Debate was a loud, zany, almost ungovernable, glorious mess.

Sound and some other production problems didn’t dim the cacophony of voices, all excitedly reaching for the roving mic and speaking up with varying opinions while the positive and critical comments of viewers scrolled by.

Some people unexpectedly got up and walked off set despite the floor manager telling them to remain seated. Cellphones rang. It was the most alive, unvarnished and authentic a current affairs TV viewers have seen on the SABC in years.

Big changes
Although already done by commercial broadcasters but with the resource scarce and cash-strapped SABC lagging behind, The Big Debate’s latest season marks a dramatic departure from existing SABC current affairs shows, and is a big improvement and a big step forward for SABC public audience interaction and participation.

For the first time, The Big Debate, done from Shine Studios in Johannesburg, is being broadcast live. It enables social media users to interact directly with the show by sending comments and questions that are being scrolled on screen.

With studio guests sitting in the show’s well-known five-ringed seating pattern, The Big Debate, besides being shown on SABC2, is also being simulcast at the same time on SABC News (DStv 404), as well as on the SABC radio station, SAfm, unlocking bigger public broadcasting synergy.

After the scheduled hour long episode of the show is over, The Big Debate now also continues seamlessly for another hour as a streaming show on YouTube with the various studio guests answering questions and making more comments.

The show also has a call-in hotline for the first time with viewers who can leave Whatsapp voice notes with the producers saying they’re listening to each and every one of them.

Also back, in a sense – and helping to elevate the SABC’s quality of broadcasting although they’re not working for the SABC – are several SABC and SABC News veterans working behind the scenes on the production, like Crystal Orderson for instance as one of the content producers.

The new The Big Debate season on the SABC will cover several topics that might seem mundane or well-worn if the show were broadcast elsewhere but that are literally breath-taking and highly notable given that it will be on the public broadcaster.

Upcoming issues that will be tackled include topics like radical economic transformation (“RET”) this Saturday and in 2018 even the controversial nuclear deal.

SABC2 will broadcast a second episode of The Big Debate this coming Saturday and then go on a production hiatus before returning in February 2018 for the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mzansi Magic: no contact with Mthokozisi Ndaba after assault charge; Idols runner-up returns to Johannesburg; says don't attack complainant since 'we do not know what issues she may be dealing with'.

M-Net has started to distance itself from the now controversial Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba facing charges of brutal assault, with Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) saying the channel doesn’t know where he is and isn’t speaking on his behalf anymore.

Meanwhile Mthokozisi Ndaba (25) who has gone to ground with no official statement from him or his management more than 72 hours after a 21-year old woman, Neo Tsele, laid a charge of assault against him following a bloody Friday night fight over a bottle of booze has suddenly spoken out on the “TeamMthokozisi” Instagram account on Tuesday – the first since the police charge three days ago.

Mthokozisi Ndaba says he has decided to fly back to Johannesburg and that people not attack Neo Tsele because “we do not know what issues she may be dealing with”.

“In the light of the current allegations and a case opened against me, I have returned to Joburg again to co-operate with the police regarding the matter. In as much as this has affected me, the craft God blessed me with, the family, friends and fans negatively but let us please let our SA law to handle the matter rightfully.” 

Mthokozisi Ndaba said he’s pleading with TeamMthokozisi and “everyone not to attack the complainant on social media. We do not know what issues she may be dealing with.”

Mzansi Magic over the weekend said it condemns any act of abuse, especially against women.

Neo Tsele opened a case of assault against Mthokozisi Ndaba, saying he beat her up in Braamfontein on Friday night, just days after the conclusion of the 13th season of the FremantleMedia format reality show produced by [SIC] Entertainment.

During a fight over a bottle of vodka, Mothokozisi Ndaba allegedly started to hit Neo Tsele in the face and slammed her into a wall. She also lost a tooth while he ran away, allegedly only stopping his brutal physical attack when her blood started dripping over his fists.

Mthokozisi Ndaba hasn’t done a single media interview since he lost Idols against Paxton Fielies just over a week ago and notoriously skipped the post-show press conference, the first runner-up in the 13 season history of the show to do so.

Mthokozisi Ndaba was supposed to fly back to Durban on Saturday afternoon but Mzansi Magic that was asked on Monday where exactly the Idols runner-up is, told TVwithThinus that the M-Net packaged channel that broadcast Idols is no longer sure of his whereabouts. The channel has been unable to make contact with Mthokozisi Ndaba for over 3 days and counting.

“Based on the social media posts from Mthokozisi we believe he is back home in KwaZulu-Natal,” says Mzansi Magic.

Mzansi Magic was asked of there’s performances or bookings Mthokozisi Ndaba is missing where he has been booked and scheduled to appear.

Mzansi Magic says “once Idols is completed the booking agent generally handles the contestants’ bookings and their diaries so we are not able to comment to any Mthokozisi might have”.

It’s highly unusual for a TV channel not to be able to get hold of any of its on-screen talent or personalities after trying for days, especially during a serious incident that has far-ranging potential for brand and reputational damage.

M-Net: Distancing itself from troubled Idols runner-up
M-Net is now also signaling a distancing between the pay-TV broadcaster and the troubled Idols runner-up who last week canned all media interviews and got treatment from medical professionals following his Idols defeat against Paxton Fielies.

Mzansi Magic now says it has stopped handling publicity for Mthokozisi Ndaba, and told TVwithThinus it only provides PR for contestants once the show has ended for the winner and the runner-up for a week after the show.

Mthokozisi Ndaba’s manager, Kim Coppen, didn’t respond to a media enquiry made Monday over Ndaba and there has been no statement from his management to respond to the allegations of physical assault since the charge was laid at Johannesburg police early on Saturday morning.

Kim Coppen was asked if there’s any comment from his management over the allegations, if there’s been consideration over dropping Mthokozisi Ndaba and no longer representing him, and what his management’s view is of assault and abuse of women but there’s been no response.

The claim of physical abuse against the Idols star came at the start of this year's 16 Days of Activism campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December and aims to raise awareness over the scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa.

In a recent survey 1 in 4 women said they've been hit by a man, and 1 in 5 said they've been sexually abused or raped, with only 5% of women saying they feel the South African Police Service (SAPS) would help them if they reported it.

Sunday was the International Day to End Violence Against Women.

Lunga Shabalala leaving SABC1's Selimathunzi after 6 years since winning the show's presenter search in 2011.

Lunga Tshabalala (28) is leaving the SABC1 magazine show Selimathunzi after 6 years with his last appearance that will be tonight, Tuesday 28 November at 19:30.

Lunga Shabalala in 2011 won the Selimathunzi presenter search and joined the show to replace Kaos Matu.

"It’s time for me to grow and explore other avenues in my career. I think I played my part and I’m leaving it to Khanya Mkangisa and Siphesihle Vazi to take over the show and they’re already doing a great job," says Lunga Tshabalala.

"Leaving has been difficult but I came to a moment of realisation to know I need to continue evolving."

Police: No arrest yet after woman claims brutal assault by troubled Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba.

The police says there’s been no arrest yet after a 21-year old woman on Saturday opened a case of assault against the troubled Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba who has so far remained unreachable by M-Net’s Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel.

Hillbrow police station spokesperson, Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo told TVwithThinus on Sunday afternoon “that a case was opened on Saturday morning against Mthokozisi Ndaba and the matter is being investigated. No arrest has been made yet."

The police is investigating a a claim of physical assault after a charge was laid by Neo Tsele (21) after Mthokozisi Ndaba allegedly beat her up in Braamfontein on Friday night, almost a week after the conclusion of the 13th season of the FremantleMedia format reality show produced by [SIC] Entertainment.

Neo Tsele says Mthokozisi Ndaba opened a bottle of vodka and after an argument ensued, started to hit her and then slammed her into a wall. She also lost a tooth while he ran away.

"You brutally abused me, I don't deserve to be beaten up like this by a stranger that I have never even wronged. Why? Why did you do this to me? You will run but you will never hide," she wrote on social media, with an image of her bruised and battered face.
Mthokozisi Ndaba who remained cloistered in Johannesburg the past week after all media interviews were abruptly canned while he received care from medical professionals since he struggled to come to grips with his defeat after Paxton Fielies (17) from Cape Town won the13th season of Idols, was supposed to fly back to Durban on Saturday afternoon.

After posing for pics at the O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg with DJ Prince Kaybee, it’s not clear if he actually got on the plane and is back in KwaMashu, or if he is still in Johannesburg.

DJ Prince Kaybee was quick to distance himself from the fallen Idols star, saying “A few minutes ago I posted a pic of me and Mthokozisi (Idols). It just got to my attention about his alleged assault case. I don’t condone such actions against women and apologise if I offended anyone.”

Mzansi Magic said that it has been unable to get in contract with Mthokozisi Ndaba since Saturday. It’s highly unusual for a TV channel not to be able to quickly get hold of any of its on-air talent and personalities, especially during a crisis that has big negative brand and reputational impact.

Silence from Mthokozisi Ndaba
Mthokozisi Ndaba has issued no statement about the alleged brutal assault.

On Sunday Mthokozisi Ndaba’s manager, Kim Coppen, didn’t respond to an emailed media enquiry seeking comment on the allegations of physical assault against Mthokozisi Ndaba.

Kim Coppen was asked if there are considerations to possibly drop Mthokozisi Ndaba following the allegations of assault and what his management’s view is on the assault and abuse of women.

Last week Kim Coppen said Mzansi Magic is responsible for Mthokozisi Ndaba’s publicity until this week.

Nondumiso Mabece, head of publicity at M-Net for local entertainment channels, on Sunday afternoon told TVwithThinus that Mzansi Magic has no new information and has still been unable to reach Ndaba.

Asked if during the past week when Mthokozisi Ndaba was placed under media professionals’ care there was any awareness that the person is troubled beyond what Mzansi Magic, Idols and M-Net understood might be the case, Nondumiso Mabece said “we are not at liberty to discuss the outcomes of Mthokozisi's sessions with the medical professionals as that information is private”.
Meanwhile rumours have started to circulate that Mthokozisi Ndaba was allegedly borderline abuse and rude towards some of the other contestants during their stay in the Idols house. Mzansi Magic was asked if any contestants ever complained about his behaviour during their time in the Idols house.

Nondumiso Mabece told TVwithThinus that “we did not receive any complaints from contestants during the show”.
The claim of physical abuse against the Idols star came at the start of this year's 16 Days of Activism campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December and aims to raise awareness over the scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa.

In a recent survey 1 in 4 women said they've been hit by a man, and 1 in 5 said they've been sexually abused or raped, with only 5% of women saying they feel the South African Police Service (SAPS) would help them if they reported it.

Sunday was the International Day to End Violence Against Women.

Heavens! Hillside has a new Hilda! After 17 years 7de Laan's 'spidery woman' on SABC2 gets a stylish makeover.

Hillside has a new Hilda. The well-known “spinnekopvroutjie” (spidery woman) in the SABC2 soap 7de Laan last night stunned viewers with a radical makeover transformation for the character that’s been known for her her eclectic scarfs, jerseys and bookworm appearance.

While it’s still the same actress, Annelisa Weiland, in the same role of Hilda de Kock, the producers decided on a radical new appearance for the character after her husband Oubaas who was played by Pierre van Pletzen, is literally out of the picture.

After discovering that Oubaas has been cheating on her with another woman for years, Hilda has agreed to a radical makeover – sporting a brand-new hairstyle, make-up, and stylish clothes.

The “new” Hilda that made her debut on Monday night is barely recognisable after Connie’s makeover, representing a brand-new chapter for the character after 17 years in the soap produced by Danie Odendaal Productions.

Gone is the long hair, often wore in a ponytail, replaced by a shoulder-length bob-hairstyle.

“The story mainly centres around Hilda who experienced big disappointments and challenges the past while and wanting to make a new beginning,” producers told TVwithThinus on Tuesday about Hilda’s dramatic transformation.

“After she tried herself to do a makeover, Connie decided to help her to properly change her appearance and on Monday night it was the first time that we saw the ‘new’ Hilda on TV.”

It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that actress Annelisa Weiland is wearing her hair short. 

The new appearance and clothing styles are to signal that the character has undergone emotional growth after coming to terms with her husband’s cheating ways.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Democratic Alliance once again calls on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to urgently investigate SA's botched digital TV switch and bungled set-top box tenders 'marred by irregularity and corruption'.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party is once again calling for an urgent investigation into South Africa's controversial procurement process of the government-sponsored set-top boxes (STBs) needed for the government's long-delayed and botched switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT),a process known as digital migration.

The Democratic Alliance member of parliament, Marian Shinn, says South Africa's Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, can no longer ignore the urgent need for a wide-ranging probe into the STB mess.

The renewed call comes as even MultiChoice, providing the DStv satellite pay-TV service, is now being dragged into South Africa's DTT mess.

Marian Shinn says in a statement that the DA party has once again written to the Public Protector to ask that the Public Protector's office proceed with the investigation as South Africa's switch to DTT from analogue broadcasting - something that is years behind schedule - "is marred by irregularity and corruption, which needs to be urgently investigated".

The DA says its initial request to the Public Protector, acknowledged on 8 August 2017, was for her office to probe the procurement process for the government-subsidised set-top boxes,to investigate alleged tender irregularities and possible unlawful decision-making, and to determine whether the digital migration process needs to be "cancelled and rerun".

"Three months later and there seems to be little to no process," says Marian Shinn.

"This past week the #GuptaLeaks revealed how Tony Gupta acted as a channel between MultiChoice - a key protagonist in the set-top box encryption battle - and former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, to change the digital terrestrial broadcasting policy in MultiChoice's favour, which she did."

"Today is has come to light that the Haws raided 13 of the 26 firms involved in the STB tender, following a 10-month investigation by the Competition Commission into collusion in the process."

"These revelations, in conjunction with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) investigation into the process, clearly indicate serious procurement irregularities or criminal acts had been commited and must be acted upon," says Marian Shinn.

"Repeated requests to the chairpersons of the communications and telecommunications and postal services portfolio committees to hold 2-day hearings into the entire digital terrestrial broadcasting process have also failed to materialise, despite being included in the committee programmes of each term this year," says Marian Shinn.

Minister of communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, wants to cut down the SABC board from 12 to 9 members and reduce quorum number to just 7 people.

South Africa's minister of communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, wants to dowsize the board of South Africa's troubled public broadcaster by cutting down the tally of SABC board members from 12 to just 9, and the number needed for a quorum to just 7.

A downsized SABC board will make the South African public broadcaster, plagued by government and political interference, even more susceptible to potential politically motivated "push through" rubber-stamp decisions, something that in the past led to major turmoil not just within the SABC board, but inside the whole operational workings of the SABC as a broadcaster.

The Sunday Independent reports that Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane supports the hugely controversial bill, introduced by her shamed and destructive predecessor, Faith Muthambi, to cut down the SABC board from 12 to 9 people and to reduce the number of board members necessary for a quorum.

The bill, if passed, will also give South Africa's minister of communications sweeping powers to usurp the hiring and firing of SABC board members.

While South Africa's president currently has the power to recommend the appointment and removal of SABC board members, that power will move to the minister of communications - something that will turn the SABC from a public, into a state broadcaster.

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is also planning to appeal a very lengthy, and clear cut judgment of the High Court that confirmed that the SABC board - not the minister of communications - is the authority to appoint the SABC's top-most executives.

The SABC is currently limping along without a permanent CEO, COO or CFO, with all three positions that continue to be filled by executives in acting positions.

Democratic Alliance party calls for parliamentary inquiry into MultiChoice, ANN7 and Faith Muthambi; wants MultiChoice to publicly release its Gupta-TV contracts and dealings.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party is calling on MultiChoice to publicly release its Gupta contract for the controversial ANN7 (DStv 405) channel that DStv subscribers are paying R141.38 million per year for, and wants a public parliamentary inquiry to be held about the contract, MultiChoice's questionable payments of millions, and the involvement of the former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi.

The DA political party's call for a parliamentary inquiry into MultiChoice is similar to the call by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party also asking for  a parliamentary inquiry into MultiChoice's allegedly "corrupt" and "unethical" dealings with the controversial Gupta family and its highly-criticised ANN7 channel.

The calls for a parliamentary inquiry comes after fresh #GuptaLeaks revelations of the hundreds of millions of rand MultiChoice has been paying the controversial Gupta family who are linked to State Capture in South Africa.

"The DA calls on MultiChoice to publicly release the full contracts it entered into with the Gupta-owed TV station, ANN7, as well as the record of the prior negotiations," says Phumzile Van Damme, Democratic Alliance member of parliament.

"If there is indeed nothing untoward about the nature of its dealings with the Gupta family, MultiChoice will have no issue publishing the requested documents for public scrutiny."

"Should it fail to do so within 48 hours, the DA will request that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) force it to do so."

"In terms of Faith Muthambi's unsurprising involvement, the DA will write to the chairperson of parliament's communications committee, Humphrey Maxegwana, requesting that the now overdue inquiry into state capture, as was requested of the committee by the deputy speaker of parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli, be scheduled as the first item on the committee's agenda in 2018."

Phumzile Van Damme says "the DA looks forward to MultiChoice's feedback and questioning of Faith Muthambi during the inquiry."

"This time she cannot be allowed to escape without being held accountable, if wrongdoing is found."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

FROM SORE LOSER TO ALLEGED WOMAN BASHER: Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba brutally physically assaulted me and ran away, says bruised and beaten woman who lost a tooth.

The troubled Idols runner up Mthokozisi Ndaba has gone from sore loser to an alleged woman basher, with a young woman who on Saturday shared photos and claimed that he allegedly physically assaulted her after which he ran away, saying she also lost a tooth in the violent attack.

"You brutally abused me, I don't deserve to be beaten up like this by a stranger that I have never even wronged. Why? Why did you do this to me? You will run but you will never hide," she says with an image of her bruised and battered face.

The police is investigating a claim of physical assault after a charge was laid by Neo Tsele (21) after Mthokozisi Ndaba allegedly beat her up in Braamfontein.

Neo Tsele says Mthokozisi Ndaba opened a bottle of vodka and after an argument ensued, started to hit her and then slammed her into a wall. She also lost a tooth while he ran away.

Hillbrow police station spokesperson, Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo told TVwithThinus that "a case was opened on Saturday morning against Mthokozisi Ndaba and the matter is being investigated. No arrest has been made yet."

Nondumiso Mabece, head of publicity at M-Net for local entertainment channels, told TVwithThinus is has been unable to reach the star that exhibited  bad behaviour since Sinday when he lost against Paxton Fielies and flew back to Durban on Saturday afternoon.

"Mzansi Magic and Idols are aware of social media posts of an alleged incident that took place on 24 November."

"We have however, been unable to make contact with Mthokozisi Ndaba, who has travelled back to KwaZulu-Natal. Mzansi Magic and Idols condemn any act of abuse," the M-Net run channel said.

The claim of physical abuse against the Idols star comes at the start of this year's 16 Days of Activism campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December and aims to raise awareness over the scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa.

In a recent survey 1 in 4 women said they've been hit by a man, and 1 in 5 said they've been sexually abused or raped, with only 5% of women saying they feel the South African Police Service (SAPS) would help them if they reported it.

Sunday is International Day to End Violence Against Women.

Mthokozisi Ndaba isn't the first Idols star involved in a brutal physical fight.

In August 2011 the Idols contestant Freddie "Van Dango" Moss was involved in a shocking and violent bar brawl with his face that got smashed in.

M-Net said it would pay for his hospital surgey after he suffered a broken cheekbone and disfigurement to his face since the production's insurance doesn't cover injuries sustained because of drinking.

The controversial Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba (25) who has now basically wrecked his career, damaged his career prospects as an artist and his brand after he blatantly storming off the stage at the Big Top Arena at Carnival City in the East Rand on Sunday night after Paxton Fielies (17) won.

While Paxton Fielies from Bishop Lavis in Cape Town was announced the winner at the end of Sunday night’s 13th season finale and sang her closing song surrounded by the rest of the top contestants, Mthokozisi Ndaba was nowhere in sight.

He suddenly refused to attend the post-show press conference, the VIP prize-giving after party usually held in the Mardi Gras room at Carnival City, and declined to do any media interviews this week as he went to ground.

This past week Mthokozisi Ndaba remained cloistered in Johannesburg under the care of medical professionals after struggling to deal with his bitter defeat against winner Paxton Fielies.

Mthokozisi Ndaba’s manager, Kim Coppen, referred media enquiries to Mzansi Magic, saying the TV channel is responsible for his publicity until next week.

M-Net’s Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel that broadcast Idols told TVwithThinus earlier this week that the channel had no idea when Mthokozisi Ndaba from KwaMashu, Durban who has gone to ground, will be doing interviews, with all media appearances and interviews this week that abruptly got canned.

According to reports Mthokozisi Ndaba already said before the start of Sunday's finale that if he didn’t win, he wasn’t going to do media interviews.

After throwing open his life to the public and courting their attention, votes and engagement, he now wanted privacy.