Following today, August 8’s High Court of Malawi’s order directing MultiChoice Malawi to comply with the order of injunction which was granted to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) on July 29th restraining the digital entertainment service provider from implementing any changes or modifications to DStv services tariffs, MultiChoice Africa Holdings has withdrawn its services from Malawi with immediate effect.
A statement from MultiChoice Africa Holdings’ group executive-corporate affairs & stakeholder relations, Keabetswe Modimoeng, maintains that MultiChoice Malawi “does not offer the DStv service to the public and, therefore, cannot set or adjust tariffs for this service, a point repeatedly made to MACRA”.
As a result, MultiChoice Africa Holdings says the Court order handed down to MultiChoice Malawi “is incapable of being implemented by them but carries with it grave consequences for the directors and management of MultiChoice Malawi, including imprisonment”.
MultiChoice Africa Holdings further says as its supplier, MultiChoice Malawi is given “an increasingly adverse regulatory environment”, ii is “therefore, left with no option but to terminate the DStv service indefinitely”.
“Customers are hereby, and with immediate effect, requested to halt payment for the DStv service,” says the public notice.
“Customers who have already paid their new subscription for the DStv service will have those services honoured until the current 30 day viewing cycle ends on or before 10 September 2023.
“From Wednesday, 9 August 2023, no new subscriptions or reconnections will be accepted, said the statement, while thanking customers “for their support over many years”.
It also thank MultiChoice Malawi “for their professional conduct in supplying its services over as many years”.
The High Court of Malawi sitting in Lilongwe issued an order directing MultiChoice Malawi to comply with the order of injunction which was granted to MACRA on July 29th restraining the digital entertainment service provider from implementing any changes or modifications to DStv services tariffs.
A public statement from MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman reiterated that MultiChoice Malawi had sought the High Court’s intervention seeking directions on how it should comply with the said order of injunction.
“Following the High Court’s direction made today, the Authority expects that MultiChoice Malawi will comply with the High Court’s directive without any further delay,” Suleman said.
“The public is advised that any person who disobeys the High Court’s order of injunction may be found guilty of Contempt of Court and liable to imprisonment.”
Since July 29, when MACRA was granted the injunction, MultiChoice Malawi applied for a temporary stay of the injunction and when the period applied for an extension which was granted, whose hearing was today.
Suleman still advised DStv customers that according to the injunction it obtained on July 28, the current, unchanged, and approved DStv tariffs will apply from August 8 unless otherwise directed by the Court.
MultiChoice is arguing that it does not offer DStv service and therefore does not set or adjust the tariffs as the company is not an agent for MultiChoice Africa Holdings — the provider of the DStv service.
The country’s service provider further argued that “MultiChoice Africa BV Holdings (MAH) was unable to revert to the old DStv tariffs, claiming that reversing the tariffs would cause damage to MAH’s business and operations in Malawi and several other countries.”
MultiChoice further argued it was puzzled since MACRA is aware that the company does not offer DStv service — thus “forced to look to the courts for assistance”.
The service provider stresses that it is a responsible citizen that respects the rule of law and that it has applied and received approval from MACRA for adjustments to the GOtv tariff as it provides such service to the public and sets the tariff for that service.
MACRA as the regulator maintains that the temporary stay of the injunction is to enable MultiChoice Malawi to revert to the old DStv tariffs.