Local television channel, e-Botswana, today lodges a P10 million claim in Johannesburg with SABC signal distributor, SENTEC.

This follows a successful lawsuit e-Botswana filed against the signal distributor in a Johannesburg court last year, which was concluded on February 9 this year.

The Joburg court ruled that e-Botswana can claim damages incurred since 2009 as a result of free SABC channels in Botswana. e-Botswana came into being in 2009 when Mike Klink sold a 49 percent stake in the then GBC-TV, to South Africa’s e-tv.

After a marathon case that started last year e-Botswana, in the February 9 ruling were told that they can now claim damages suffered from the SABC signal distributor’s negligence.

Although both Dave Coles, the e-Botswana GM and Mike Klink, the local shareholder were not ready to discuss the matter at press time, close sources confirmed that since last week, the e-Botswana GM has been in South Africa with the company lawyers to lodge the claim, emanating from the successful court ruling that found that Sentec was guilty of allowing SABC1, SABC2, ABC3 signals to be easily pirated by Chinese decoders in Botswana, thus denying e-Botswana the opportunity to make money through advertising and other means.

The Monitor sources say that actually the claim was expected to have been lodged on Friday but e-Botswana lawyers were still putting together final details into their claim. SENTECH, by Friday last week had not indicated they are appealing the ruling

In its February 9 ruling, the Johannesburg court ruled that SENTECH is liable to e-Botswana for damages they suffered since March 25, 2009 to-date as a result of SENTECH’s failure to prevent pirate viewing in Botswana of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 signals carried on Vivid platform.

In the February 9 Court ruling e-Botswana was ordered to serve SENTECH with claims and SENTECH to respond within 10 days of receipt of the claims. However, this is to be preceded by determination of quantification of the damages to be claimed by e-Botswana in a damages enquiry.

SENTECH was also ordered to switch off all SABC signals in Botswana within three months. SENTECH was also ordered to pay the costs of the case.

e-Botswana had argued that the piracy of the SABC signal through Chinese decoders popularly known as Phillibao, had resulted in loss of business by denying the channel an opportunity to make a profit from advertising.

Soruce: The Monitor