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MultiChoice Loses AU TV Studios Deal To China

MultiChoice has spent a lot of money preparing to kit out TV studios at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, only to be told at the very last minute that the arrangement is off because of China.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was scheduled to officially launch the studio during the AU summit last weekend. It was meant to be a flagship development by South Africa’s Department of Communications in partnership with MultiChoice to coincide with President Ramaphosa’s term as the AU Chair this year. 

Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s Ambassador to the AU, said that at the end of September last year his team started engaging with the AU only to be told now that there is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between China and the AU Commission to revamp the same studio.

He said that the MOU was apparently signed in 2015, and even though South Africa was surprised and disappointed to be informed about this after so much work had been put it, no malice was suspected.

China was responsible for building the AU’s $200 million headquarters and then gifted it to the continent in 2012.

Fin24 has been informed that MultiChoice had spent at least $1.7 million on the work already, and that there was deep disappointment within the company.

The MultiChoice Group’s Senior Manager for Communications Benedict Maaga did not want to comment and referred all queries to the Director-General of the Department of Communications, Robert Nkuna.

Nkuna said that South Africa volunteered to assist the AU with the studio in 2017 following the AU ministers’ meeting in Addis Ababa where the matter was discussed as high-priority for the continental body.

He added that the department might soon send a technical delegation to Addis Ababa to reach a resolution in a short space of time to avoid incurring further costs as a result. 

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