South Africa’s public broadcaster SABC, already knee deep in allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement, has been fined by the country’s Competition Commissioner, along with two other media businesses, for price fixing of trading conditions.
The sums involved, spread over the three offenders, amount to “millions of Rand”. The trio have reached consent settlements with the Commission. The two other companies are Primedia and Star-Kinekor.
SABC must pay an administrative penalty of R31.8-million and provide 25 per cent bonus advertising space for every rand of advertising space sought by qualifying small ad agencies over a three-year period and capped at R40-million annually. The public broadcaster must contribute a further R17.8-million to the Economic Development Fund over three years.
Primedia, whose assets include local radio stations 702 and Cape Talk, has agreed to pay a penalty of Rand 9.6-million. It will also provide 25 per cent bonus advertising space to qualifying small agencies over three years, capped at R24-million/year, and contribute R3.5-million to the Economic Development Fund.
Ster-Kinekor will pay a fine of R437 000, contribute R157 000 to the development fund and offer 25 per cent bonus advertising space to qualifying agencies to the value of R1-million/year over three years.
The Electronic Development Fund will be managed by the Media Development and Diversity Agency, and will see the cash disbursed to emerging media talent.
The penalties relate to an investigation the Competition Commission launched in November 2011 that found that, through an organisation called Media Credit Co-ordinators, various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to ad agencies that placed ads with MCC members.