Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has called e-tv to account for allegedly contravening sections of the licence conditions.

The first of two formal hearings was scheduled for September 29, when e-tv would be charged with not fulfilling the required quota of information programming, from clause 14 (2) of Midi’s licence conditions, said Icasa.

The second hearing involves the alleged contravention of Midi’s shareholders’ agreement. Wimla Maistry, Icasa’s spokesman, said it was also alleged that the station was “showing a lack of provision of diversity in the commissioning of local programmes. This is clause 9 that is being referred to.”

Maistry said e-tv had been called to a hearing to air its side of the story.

Marcel Golding, e-tv’s chief executive, said: “On both issues we disagree. We believe we met all the conditions. However, we welcome the opportunity to explain the matter, before the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.”

Golding said that in many instances e-tv had met and might even have exceeded the requirements of the code. “We are disappointed that we have to deal with this, because we have supplied the former IBA with a detailed document.”

He said Icasa had not had the courtesy to discuss the matter with e-tv. “We know we complied. We furnished a fully detailed document. We will address this matter with our lawyers E closer to the time.”

The second hearing, regarding a shareholders’ agreement between Hosken Consolidated Investments, Sabido, Rembrandt Group and Self-Nurturing Investment, would be heard on October 26 and 27.

Brian Sokutu, spokesman for the department of communication, said the ministry would like the matter to be dealt with by the two parties.

“It is independent of the ministry, hence it might be misconstrued that we are trying to mess up things. It might also be misconstrued by the executive,” said Sokutu.

Source: Business Report – Steven Moti