South Africa's Naspers pay TV unit agrees to $13 mln fine- watchdog

JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's Naspers' pay-television subsidiary has agreed to pay an accumulative fine of 180 million rand ($13.97 million) for price fixing, the competition commission said on Thursday.

"DStv Media Sales (Pty) Ltd has admitted to price fixing and the fixing of trading conditions in contravention of South Africa's Competition Act," the commission said in a statement.

DStv, a digital satellite service, is owned by MultiChoice, which is a unit of Naspers, the biggest listed firm on the continent.

The matter relates to a November 2011 investigation, which found that through the Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC), various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to advertising agencies that place advertisements with MCC members.

"The Commission found that the practices restricted competition among the competing companies as they did not independently determine an element of a price in the form of discount or trading terms," the commission said.



As part of the consent agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal, which makes the final ruling, DStv Media Sales will pay an administrative penalty of over 22 million rand and pay 8 million rand to the Economic Development Fund over three years.





DStv Media Sales will also provide 25 percent in bonus airtime for every rand of airtime bought by qualifying small agencies for three years, the commission said.

MultiChoice and Naspers could not immediately be reached for comment. ($1 = 12.8846 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Susan Thomas)



https://www.reuters.com/article/safrica-dstv-pricefixing/south-africas-naspers-pay-tv-unit-agrees-to-13-mln-fine-watchdog-idUSL8N1IR4JX

What's life like in a South African prison?

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

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Oscar Pistorius trial



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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

South Africa's prisons are generally overcrowded, says the Wits Justice Project

Some single cells house two or three inmates, and ventilation is often poor

Lockdowns keep prisoners cooped up in cells for long periods

(CNN) -- A stuffy, overcrowded cell. At times, two or three men to a single bunk. Lockdown for 23 out of 24 hours.

Is this what awaits South Africa's Oscar Pistorius if he is found guilty of premeditated murder in the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year?

Some of South Africa's prisons are better than others.

But whichever one might house Pistorius, there's no question that conditions would be a far cry from those in his $560,000 home in the luxury Silverwoods Estate, on the outskirts of Pretoria.

South African prisons are frequently overcrowded, putting a strain on sanitation, ventilation and medical care, according to Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi, project coordinator for the Johannesburg-based Wits Justice Project , a civil society group.

READ MORE: Who is "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius?

The overcrowding means three men may share a single cell, or communal cells for 40 people are jammed with double the number they were intended to hold, with men sleeping in double or triple bunks, she said.

"We heard of one person who for the first year in remand detention slept on the floor and then 'graduated' to a bunk," she said. Remand is the term used for pretrial custody.

Many inmates are kept locked up for 23 hours a day, with only an hour outside their cell. Some prisons go into lockdown as early as 3 or 4 p.m., leaving prisoners cooped up for 12 hours or more at a stretch.

"It's not a pretty picture," Erfani-Ghadimi said.

Overcrowding is a particular problem in remand prisons, where it runs at just over 200%, she said, citing figures from the Department of Correctional Services. Overall, overcrowding in prisons stands at about 133%.

Special treatment?

The track star's high-profile case has put South Africa's criminal justice system under the spotlight.

Observers asked why Pistorius, a gold medal-winning Paralympian, was detained in a holding cell at the Brooklyn Police Station after Steenkamp's death last February -- and not at Central Prison or Newlock, where other defendants awaiting trial are kept.

Photos: 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius

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Steenkamp: From law student to cover girl

HIDE CAPTION

READ MORE: Reeva Steenkamp, from model to law graduate

"If there is some special circumstance that permits this, authorities must share this with the public as they are setting a bad precedent," the women's branch of South Africa's ruling party said in a prepared statement. "All should be treated equally before the law no matter your standing in society."

Pistorius got special treatment, the African National Congress Women's League said, adding that his family was able to see him outside visiting hours -- unlike relatives of other inmates.

The 27-year-old has rejected the murder allegation "in the strongest terms," his agent said in a statement.

Pistorius' lawyers requested Brooklyn so that they could have access to their client over the weekend, following his arrest on Valentine's Day in 2013. The state did not object.



READ MORE: South Africa's legal system in the spotlight

The case of Shrien Dewani, a British man accused of hiring hitmen to kill his wife on their South African honeymoon, also cast the country's criminal justice system in an unflattering light. His lawyers argued in 2012 that his extradition would breach his human rights under European law because he risked being attacked by other inmates in South African prisons.

While British High Court judges dismissed that part of Dewani's argument -- and last month ruled that he can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial -- concerns about potential torture and abuse in detention are warranted, Erfani-Ghadimi said.

South Africa is a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Torture, but it has yet to ratify it, so such abuses have not been criminalized.

"A legacy of apartheid is that prison cells are still unfortunately a place where prisoners can be abused," Erfani-Ghadimi said.

Amnesty International's Annual Report 2012, which looked at human rights around the world, also said that a draft law to make torture a criminal offense had not been presented in South Africa's parliament by the end of the year.

Human dignity

Nevertheless, said Erfani-Ghadimi, the problem doesn't lie in South Africa's laws so much as in the ability of the justice system to cope with the number of inmates in the system.

South Africa's constitution and its bill of rights, with regard to prisoners' rights, are among the best in the world, she said. "Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily translate into practice."

READ MORE: Case highlights South African gun culture

She says she thinks conditions are improving, however, thanks in part to the strength of those constitutional rights and the work of civil society organizations campaigning for change.

And Pistorius, if he is eventually convicted and jailed, should find that his particular medical needs as a double amputee are taken into account, she said.

This could mean that he is sent to a prison with better medical facilities or wheelchair access, she suggested.

According to the bill of rights, prisoners are entitled to "be detained in conditions that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, medical treatment."

Correctional Services Department spokesman Koos Gerber said South Africa's detention facilities, whether for remand prisoners or those serving prison terms, "can accommodate people with any disabilities."

READ MORE: Oscar Pistorius' affidavit to court in full

"We have a general problem of overcrowding but we have learned to live with it," said Gerber, adding that extra bunks have been added to make sure all remand prisoners have a bed. Hospital facilities are also available at all times, he said.

According to official figures for 2011 to 2012, there were 158,790 prison inmates in South Africa, a nation of nearly 52 million, of whom about 30% were on remand awaiting trial.

This compares with about 2.2 million people in prisons or jails in the United States at the end of 2011, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures. Crowding in U.S. prisons stood at 39% over capacity in 2011, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Long wait for trial

Erfani-Ghadimi blames systemic problems for South Africa's overcrowding. One issue is that police are quick to arrest people, she said, and they have only 48 hours from arrest to bring charges.

After they are charged, many suspects cannot afford to make bail or hire a lawyer and so are forced to spend months or even years behind bars awaiting trial, she said.

Investigations are often poorly run and courtrooms can be overcrowded, adding to the hurdles faced by those on remand, she said.

"Because the system is cumbersome and slow, there's a lot of people stuck waiting -- and that means the conditions are not by any means ideal," she added.

A "statement of agreed factual findings" filed in a Constitutional Court ruling in December, in favor of a man who contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned, gives insight into what could lie ahead for Pistorius.

The statement describes the conditions Dudley Lee endured in Cape Town's Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison -- where Nelson Mandela was once held -- before he was eventually acquitted and freed.

Prisoners going to court appearances were "stuffed into vans like sardines," it said. Holding cells at court were also "jam-packed." Meanwhile, conditions back at the prison were far from pleasant -- though ideal for the spread of disease.

Packed, smoky cells

The air inside the communal cells, locked down without cross-ventilation for up to 15 hours a day, was thick with cigarette smoke, the statement said. Even after Lee was diagnosed with TB, he was kept in a cell with other prisoners. He "begged, bullied and bribed" to get the medication he needed.

As a world-famous athlete, Pistorius has money to pay for good defense attorneys, unlike many in the South African justice system. He stated his annual income was 5.6 million rand ($631,000) at his bail hearing in February of last year.

A Pretoria magistrate granted Pistorius bail and he walked free on bond eight days after the shooting death of his girlfriend. But if convicted of premeditated murder, he would face 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

His lawyers will be trying to make sure that doesn't happen.

READ MORE: Photos show Steenkamp's transformation

Vision Katleho Foundation Strikes Again At Newgate College of Education in Parktown, Johannesburg

You are Invited to share in the experience as our friends in Media, Sport, Entertainment, Property Development, I.T, Fashion, Business, Education and Government - all of whom are assisting with the day.

The event will have publicity coverage from a local news paper, a national magazine and the national broadcaster so you're welcome to bring some branded articles (should you be donating as corporate/company representative) or your own business as one of our appreciated donors.

The events of the day are set to start at 11am. We'd love for you to please come around this time, 11am, with hopes of wrapping up by 3pm.

Thank you again for the generous donation, we know it will be greatly appreciated by the children.

Please feel free to revert back via mail or telephone should you need further clarity about anything concerning the day.

The Investigative Team at Vision Katleho Foundation have earmarked the Newgate College of Education in Parktown, Johannesburg as their next beneficiary. Tears were shed upon visiting the school. Duma Sandile-Mboni Chairman of the Foundation, Sylvia Kgoadi, MD and Founder of the Foundation were moved by the appalling conditions that they witnessed first-hand.

After their successful event on this year's Mandela Day where they donated shoes and jerseys to a less privileged primary school in Tshepisong, JHB West and the event was broadcast on SABC 1 and on Dstv.

Subsequently, Vision Katleho Foundation have secured a venue and fixed the 29th November to hold their Event/Fundraising campaign for the Newgate College of Education which will also be broadcast on Kids News on SABC TV. The reason for the urgency is because the students finish writing on the 28th November and the Foundation yearns to bring some relief and comfort to their disadvantaged students.

Vision Katleho Foundation and their Team will converge on the school to assist to the best of their ability. Newgate Educational College accommodates learners from grade 8 to 12. Most of these learners hail from Alexandra, Hillbrow, Soweto and Yeoville and the majority of students are from poor families and child-headed households. The situation at the school is so bad that they use shacks as classes and at times, teachers don't get remunerated for months on end, just to mention a few of the school's challenges. SABC will be on the spot to broadcast this event on Live TV.

Thus far, they have managed to collect 120 much needed sanitary pads for the 100 girls. We hereby request any assistance from your esteemed organization with EITHER:

PA System

Catering (For Lunch) approximately 120 heads

Gift Bags (Deodorants, soaps, toothbrushes, gifts, and such likes)

Support (Any kind of support including financial)

However, any form of assistance will be greatly appreciated! You are welcome to bring your promotional material on the day and we will grant you an opportunity of an interview with SABC TV.

With increased educational opportunities and recognition that their voices count, girls and young women have more opportunity than ever to be problem solvers and contribute to building a more sustainable and safe world for everybody. But girls and young women still face many challenges related to gender and often have to reconcile their own dreams with expectations of what they "should be". Some of these challenges are sometimes as a result of "what happens at home" which turns to make them feel worthless, defeated and demotivated throughout their lives or also leaving a permanent scar of failure in them.

Conversing With A Girl Child summit will be an annual summit where we gather girls from various disadvantaged high schools to converse with them about major challenges they are faced with from home, school to the streets and come up with solutions for and with them as they will be part of the conversation throughout the conference.

The objective of this event:

To share their powerful story and journey

To empower

To motivate

To give hope

To build confidence and self awareness

To impart skills, experience and knowledge

In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet needs, not because you have needs. - Kay Sprinkel Grace

Sylvia Kgoadi, Founder and Managing Director of Katleho Foundation says " We don't work in the non-profit sector, we work in the "for-change" sector! We look forward to your much anticipated support in joining our mission to making a difference in the lives of people wherever we go".

About The Vision Katleho Foundation:

The mission of the foundation is to assist disadvantaged youth and children in various communities by providing skills, mentorship, leadership, academic and social developmental support. We recognise the multiple challenges facing less privileged children and aim to support their future prospects. Our vision is to create a socially and economically empowered foundation for the youth in our communities and as far as possible as we can reach.

Our mission is to ensure that all projects and services are executed with the highest quality and within agreed-upon scope, time and cost parameters.

Contact Information:

Sylvia Kgoadi : +27 83 361 0528

Sylvia@visionkatlehofoundation.org.za

Members of The Vision Katleho Foundation

SYLVIA KGOADI - Founder & Managing Director | DUMA-SANDILE MBONI - Chairperson

PHILANI EUGENE NGCOBO - Communication Specialist | PRIYA PILLAY - Project Organiser & Secretary | FEMI KOYA - Project Manager

THABO KEKANA - Creative Director | DONALD PILLAI - Marketing Manager/Specialist

South Africa's Naspers pay TV unit agrees to $13 mln fine- watchdog

JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's Naspers' pay-television subsidiary has agreed to pay an accumulative fine of 180 million rand ($13.97 million) for price fixing, the competition commission said on Thursday.

"DStv Media Sales (Pty) Ltd has admitted to price fixing and the fixing of trading conditions in contravention of South Africa's Competition Act," the commission said in a statement.

DStv, a digital satellite service, is owned by MultiChoice, which is a unit of Naspers, the biggest listed firm on the continent.

The matter relates to a November 2011 investigation, which found that through the Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC), various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to advertising agencies that place advertisements with MCC members.

"The Commission found that the practices restricted competition among the competing companies as they did not independently determine an element of a price in the form of discount or trading terms," the commission said.



As part of the consent agreement filed with the Competition Tribunal, which makes the final ruling, DStv Media Sales will pay an administrative penalty of over 22 million rand and pay 8 million rand to the Economic Development Fund over three years.

DStv Media Sales will also provide 25 percent in bonus airtime for every rand of airtime bought by qualifying small agencies for three years, the commission said.



MultiChoice and Naspers could not immediately be reached for comment. ($1 = 12.8846 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Susan Thomas)

What's life like in a South African prison?

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius trial

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Oscar Pistorius trial

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

South Africa's prisons are generally overcrowded, says the Wits Justice Project

Some single cells house two or three inmates, and ventilation is often poor

Lockdowns keep prisoners cooped up in cells for long periods

(CNN) -- A stuffy, overcrowded cell. At times, two or three men to a single bunk. Lockdown for 23 out of 24 hours.

Is this what awaits South Africa's Oscar Pistorius if he is found guilty of premeditated murder in the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year?

Some of South Africa's prisons are better than others.

But whichever one might house Pistorius, there's no question that conditions would be a far cry from those in his $560,000 home in the luxury Silverwoods Estate, on the outskirts of Pretoria.

South African prisons are frequently overcrowded, putting a strain on sanitation, ventilation and medical care, according to Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi, project coordinator for the Johannesburg-based Wits Justice Project , a civil society group.

READ MORE: Who is "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius?

The overcrowding means three men may share a single cell, or communal cells for 40 people are jammed with double the number they were intended to hold, with men sleeping in double or triple bunks, she said.

"We heard of one person who for the first year in remand detention slept on the floor and then 'graduated' to a bunk," she said. Remand is the term used for pretrial custody.

Many inmates are kept locked up for 23 hours a day, with only an hour outside their cell. Some prisons go into lockdown as early as 3 or 4 p.m., leaving prisoners cooped up for 12 hours or more at a stretch.

"It's not a pretty picture," Erfani-Ghadimi said.

Overcrowding is a particular problem in remand prisons, where it runs at just over 200%, she said, citing figures from the Department of Correctional Services. Overall, overcrowding in prisons stands at about 133%.

Special treatment?

The track star's high-profile case has put South Africa's criminal justice system under the spotlight.

Observers asked why Pistorius, a gold medal-winning Paralympian, was detained in a holding cell at the Brooklyn Police Station after Steenkamp's death last February -- and not at Central Prison or Newlock, where other defendants awaiting trial are kept.

Photos: 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius

HIDE CAPTION

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Steenkamp: From law student to cover girl

HIDE CAPTION

READ MORE: Reeva Steenkamp, from model to law graduate

"If there is some special circumstance that permits this, authorities must share this with the public as they are setting a bad precedent," the women's branch of South Africa's ruling party said in a prepared statement. "All should be treated equally before the law no matter your standing in society."

Pistorius got special treatment, the African National Congress Women's League said, adding that his family was able to see him outside visiting hours -- unlike relatives of other inmates.

The 27-year-old has rejected the murder allegation "in the strongest terms," his agent said in a statement.

Pistorius' lawyers requested Brooklyn so that they could have access to their client over the weekend, following his arrest on Valentine's Day in 2013. The state did not object.

READ MORE: South Africa's legal system in the spotlight

The case of Shrien Dewani, a British man accused of hiring hitmen to kill his wife on their South African honeymoon, also cast the country's criminal justice system in an unflattering light. His lawyers argued in 2012 that his extradition would breach his human rights under European law because he risked being attacked by other inmates in South African prisons.

While British High Court judges dismissed that part of Dewani's argument -- and last month ruled that he can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial -- concerns about potential torture and abuse in detention are warranted, Erfani-Ghadimi said.

South Africa is a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Torture, but it has yet to ratify it, so such abuses have not been criminalized.

"A legacy of apartheid is that prison cells are still unfortunately a place where prisoners can be abused," Erfani-Ghadimi said.

Amnesty International's Annual Report 2012, which looked at human rights around the world, also said that a draft law to make torture a criminal offense had not been presented in South Africa's parliament by the end of the year.

Human dignity

Nevertheless, said Erfani-Ghadimi, the problem doesn't lie in South Africa's laws so much as in the ability of the justice system to cope with the number of inmates in the system.

South Africa's constitution and its bill of rights, with regard to prisoners' rights, are among the best in the world, she said. "Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily translate into practice."

READ MORE: Case highlights South African gun culture

She says she thinks conditions are improving, however, thanks in part to the strength of those constitutional rights and the work of civil society organizations campaigning for change.

And Pistorius, if he is eventually convicted and jailed, should find that his particular medical needs as a double amputee are taken into account, she said.

This could mean that he is sent to a prison with better medical facilities or wheelchair access, she suggested.

According to the bill of rights, prisoners are entitled to "be detained in conditions that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, medical treatment."

Correctional Services Department spokesman Koos Gerber said South Africa's detention facilities, whether for remand prisoners or those serving prison terms, "can accommodate people with any disabilities."

READ MORE: Oscar Pistorius' affidavit to court in full

"We have a general problem of overcrowding but we have learned to live with it," said Gerber, adding that extra bunks have been added to make sure all remand prisoners have a bed. Hospital facilities are also available at all times, he said.

According to official figures for 2011 to 2012, there were 158,790 prison inmates in South Africa, a nation of nearly 52 million, of whom about 30% were on remand awaiting trial.

This compares with about 2.2 million people in prisons or jails in the United States at the end of 2011, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures. Crowding in U.S. prisons stood at 39% over capacity in 2011, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Long wait for trial

Erfani-Ghadimi blames systemic problems for South Africa's overcrowding. One issue is that police are quick to arrest people, she said, and they have only 48 hours from arrest to bring charges.

After they are charged, many suspects cannot afford to make bail or hire a lawyer and so are forced to spend months or even years behind bars awaiting trial, she said.

Investigations are often poorly run and courtrooms can be overcrowded, adding to the hurdles faced by those on remand, she said.

"Because the system is cumbersome and slow, there's a lot of people stuck waiting -- and that means the conditions are not by any means ideal," she added.

A "statement of agreed factual findings" filed in a Constitutional Court ruling in December, in favor of a man who contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned, gives insight into what could lie ahead for Pistorius.

The statement describes the conditions Dudley Lee endured in Cape Town's Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison -- where Nelson Mandela was once held -- before he was eventually acquitted and freed.

Prisoners going to court appearances were "stuffed into vans like sardines," it said. Holding cells at court were also "jam-packed." Meanwhile, conditions back at the prison were far from pleasant -- though ideal for the spread of disease.

Packed, smoky cells

The air inside the communal cells, locked down without cross-ventilation for up to 15 hours a day, was thick with cigarette smoke, the statement said. Even after Lee was diagnosed with TB, he was kept in a cell with other prisoners. He "begged, bullied and bribed" to get the medication he needed.

As a world-famous athlete, Pistorius has money to pay for good defense attorneys, unlike many in the South African justice system. He stated his annual income was 5.6 million rand ($631,000) at his bail hearing in February of last year.

A Pretoria magistrate granted Pistorius bail and he walked free on bond eight days after the shooting death of his girlfriend. But if convicted of premeditated murder, he would face 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

His lawyers will be trying to make sure that doesn't happen.

READ MORE: Photos show Steenkamp's transformation

Eye on South Africa: trends in broadcasting.

Broadcasting in South Africa has undergone radical changes in the

past few years. A primary goal of the new government was to reregulate

broadcasting so that previously sidelined communities could own and

operate radio and TV services as well as provide previously neglected

audiences with programs suited to their requirements and reflecting

their cultures.

The Independent Broadcast Authority (IBA) was charged with monitoring

the radio and TV industry and establishing policies for the regulation

of broadcasting and the granting of new television and radio licenses.

Prior to the allocation of frequencies. the IBA contended that the

state-owned SABC, which previously functioned on a commercial as well as

a public broadcaster basis. should shed its commercial radio stations

and take on the sole role of public broadcaster. Consequently, in 1996

the SABC relaunched its three television channels and sold its six

commercial radio stations to private, primarily black-controlled

consortiums.



The Terrestrial TV Ground



The relaunch of the SABC's three terrestrial channels realigned

the channels not only in terms of program content but in terms of

geographical coverage.



SABC1 is an entertainment channel that broadcasts in the Zulu, Xhosa

and English languages during primetime. It also accommodates the minor

African languages isiNdebele and siSwati. SABC1, which reaches major

urban areas nationwide, is the second largest channel. In primetime,

SABC2 broadcasts in English, Afrikaans, Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi,

and provisions have been made for the Xitsonga and Tshivenda languages.

This channel, the largest of the three, is available across most of the

country, although some rural areas cannot yet receive the terrestrial

signal and rely on the Ku-band signal from the PAS 4 satellite. SABC3

broadcasts exclusively in English and offers domestic and international

programs. The smallest of the three channels, SABC3 can only be picked

up terrestrially in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and

East London, although it is available nationally on the PAS 4 satellite.



To date, no private terrestrial commercial television license exists,

although hearings from applicants are to be heard in the next few

months. There are currently only three challengers for the national

commercial license: Free-to-Air, Station for the Nation and Channel Six.

The latter, however, is likely to concentrate on the regional

license.The successful applicants are expected to begin broadcasting by

June 1997.

IBA Regulations



All broadcasters are regulated by the IBA. Regulations include

stipulations concerning what percentage of total programming should be

local; restrictions on cross-ownership; and affirmative action (a

company's staff must include a certain percentage of blacks, and

blacks must be represented at management level).



The public broadcaster SABC must air 50 percent local content. For

commercial broadcasters, the percentage is significantly less.



Programming Trends



The problem with local production and increased local content quotas

is that local production costs are very high. It currently costs between

$1,300 and $2,173 per minute to produce a program locally, while the

average cost of an imported program is $6,000 per hour.



The SABC channels' Institution of Commissioning Editors has

addressed the high costs of local production by allocating funds to

assist independent producers. Commissioning editors can, on their own,

grant fees of up to $10,900; program managers, up to $54,000; channel

heads, up to $163,000; the CEOs of the channels, up to $435,000; and the

Group executive, up to $870,000. Larger grants have to be approved by

the SABC board.



The change in programming on the SABC channels, however, has led to a

drop in advertising revenues. In an attempt to broaden the source of its

revenues, SABC recently launched the satellite TV service AstraSat.



The Satellite Solution



Soon to become an independent division under the SABC banner,

AstraSat is expected to provide profits that will help fund SABC.



AstraSat currently offers, in analog format, six TV channels (movies,

sports, music, news and information, general entertainment and family

entertainment). AstraSat is negotiating to place seven additional

channels on the PAS 7 satellite, which is due to be launched early this

year. After AstraSat launched, the service was criticized for choosing

analog over digital technology. Gert Claassen, CEO of SABC operations

and head of AstraSat, explained the decision: "Not all TV

households are rich and we need technology to address these markets. It

is not necessarily the most up-to-date technology that works for

us." Unlike the privately held pay service M-Net, which is marketed

to high-income groups, AstraSat aims to make satellite channels

available to a wider audience. This is possible with analog technology

because analog equipment is significantly cheaper than digital

equipment.



Digital satellite television was launched in South Africa in November

1995 by Orbicom, the satellite service provider for M-Net and

MultiChoice. According to Gerdus van Eeden, an Orbicom engineer

specializing in satellite and digital technology," DSTV was a first

not only for South Africa but for Africa and is also one of the first

MPEG-2 DVB-S direct-to-home systems in the world."

The launch of the PAS 7 satellite will allow Orbicom to deliver new

technology to MultiChoice and African DSTV subscribers and will allow

MultiChoice to add more channels to its digital bouquet. Claassen

believes that South Africa will soon "leapfrog" over cable

technology and become a predominantly multimedia country.



Meanwhile, Uplink Network, a new privately held satellite TV service,

is expected to be in service by the middle of 1997. Having completed a

$200 million deal with Scientific Atlanta, Uplink Network hopes to offer

a subscription fee considerably lower than those of AstraSat and

MultiChoice. Uplink Network's CEO, Craig Kinsman, said,

"We're offering an entertainment alternative, with all seven

of our channels slanted towards programming that's free of

violence, sex scenes and foul language? The bouquet includes a general

family entertainment channel; a Christian lifestyle channel; a sports

channel; the BSkyB News service; a European language channel

broadcasting to the Portuguese, Italian, Greek, German and Jewish

communities; an interactive learning service channel; and a business

channel.



South Africa TV Data



Average Cost of Local Production: $104,000 per hour Average Cost of

Imported Programs: $6,000 per hour Total Population: 41,237,000 Total

Color TV Ownership: 41.4 percent (3,445,000 TV HH) Total Black and White

TV Ownership: 23.1 percent (1,923,000 TV HH) Total SABC Viewers: 58.3

percent Total M-Net Viewers: 10.9 percent Total Satellite Dish Ownership: 0.3 percent (26,000 TV HH) Total VCR Ownership: 18.7 percent

(1,553,000 TV HH)