Peter Bruce is quite right to dismiss Naspers’ attempt to wash its hands of Multichoice’s payments to the Guptas (Sunday Times, December 3). For a company that by its own admission helped the apartheid government justify its policies, to downplay these recent events underlines that it has learnt nothing about business’s culpability in supporting rogue political regimes.
Further, Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk’s comment that they "own more than 100 companies" so can’t be expected to monitor them all, is factually misleading.
Yes, they do own hundreds — now, after reinvesting Tencent profit. But back in 2012 they didn’t, and Multichoice was one of their flagships. Upon which board, as Bruce also notes, Van Dijk still sits.
Koos Bekker’s same-day response worsens the situation. He claims that in 2012 Multichoice couldn’t have known how the Gupta-Zuma relationship would play out. But they knew enough to know the Guptas could make their competition problems vanish.
Is Bekker saying that Multichoice didn’t know it would get caught?
He further complains that the DA released the incriminating minutes of the 2102 Multichoice/ SABC meeting without asking for Naspers’ version – but provides no such version in the article either.
Instead he asserts that whether Multichoice paid to influence government policy on encryption is "just a sideshow", since no one is interested in encryption nowadays.
Again, misleading. On centre-stage is state capture, and everyone should find that interesting.
As a white person, I find all that unacceptable. Naspers needs to fully accept responsibility and take urgent action to avoid underscoring the stereotype that apartheid-era companies accept no responsibility for their complicity, then or now, and still have no moral compass.
The further concern is, how many other companies supported this bribery-extortion network? A full state capture enquiry needs to consider all these issues transparently, for the benefit of all South Africans.