Harare lawyer sues DSTV over insistence on US dollar subscriptions

scales-and-gavel

 Daniel Nemukuyu,  Harare Bureau
A HARARE lawyer has approached the High Court seeking an order compelling Skynet Private Limited (Multichoice Zimbabwe) to accept bank card swipe, bank transfers, ecocash and bond notes for DSTV subscriptions.

Most households countrywide have over the past months failed to raise the required United States dollars required for DSTV subscription.

Hard hit by cash shortages, Zimbabweans cannot easily raise bond notes and coins hence the application by Mr James Majatame of Takawira Law Chambers for an order compelling the service provider to accept other methods of payment.

In the application filed at the High Court yesterday morning, Mr Majatame is seeking a declaratory order compelling Multichoice to accept the other methods of payment permissible in terms of the laws of the country.

Mr Majatame argued that Multichoice’s conduct of refusing to accept other forms of payment was unlawful.

“The first respondent’s (Multichoice) conduct of refusing to accept subscriptions by way of swipe, ecocash, bank transfer, bond notes and coins, preferring US dollars only, is unlawful.

“The Government in 2016 passed Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016 and the principal Act, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Act (2016) through which bond notes and coins were issued as legal tender in Zimbabwe.

“Section 44B(2) of the said SI 133 of 2016, provides that bond notes and coins are exchangeable at par value with any specified currency other than Zimbabwean currency prescribed as legal tender for the purposes of Section 44A.

“Clearly the refusal by the Respondent to accept my payment for its services in bond notes or coins, is not only illegal but it is a massive slap in the face for the Government and lawmakers,” said Mr Majatame.

He said no one was above the law in Zimbabwe, hence Multichoice, as long as it does its business in this jurisdiction, must respect Zimbabwean laws.

“Respondent’s conduct in this regard appears to be that of the animals who are more equal than others. The law puts everyone at par, and the respondent should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage over others,” said Mr Majatame.

He submitted that Zimbabwe was experiencing cash problems and that Multichoice’s conduct had an effect of promoting black market.

“Applicant implores the court to take judicial notice of the liquidity crunch that our country is facing now.

“Cash in US dollars is now a scarce commodity. The conduct by the respondent of demanding US dollars only for its DSTV services promotes black market which is more averse to our country and economy,” said Majatame.

Multichoice,  Majatame’s lawyers argued, was exhibiting the big brother attitude in business.

“Respondent is a service company operating in Zimbabwe and it enjoys not only a monopoly, it also enjoys oligopoly hence it feels like it is a big boy in town and can disrespect its customers and the lawmakers in whichever way without it being reprimanded.”

Mr Majatame is a holder of a DSTV account and he visited Multichoice offices in Avondale, Harare on Wednesday to make payment for subscriptions using a bank card.

“The man behind the counter informed me that they were not accepting any subscriptions through swipe, bank transfer, bond notes and coins. He told me that they were only accepting US dollars,” reads Mr Majatame’s founding affidavit.

Multichoice is yet to respond to the application.

 

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  • Ziyabheda

    I wonder whether in Uganda,Zambia and all other countries north of us multi choice is exhibiting the same big brother attitude, I really wonder!

    • Hayibo

      This is not about big brother attitude, this is about a company operating in a country with no liquidity and they did not enter into Zim to make friends but to make cash. Zambia and Uganda have adequate cash and Zim doesn’t have any. The Zim government has failed to resolve the cash crisis and now companies have to accept the worthless bond notes or swipe in a system where u will be able to get your cash. No ways

      • Hayibo

        NB”…..a system where you will not be able to get your cash.”

        • J Mkwananzi

          It might be a case of one shooting others in the foot through foolishness. How many companies these days except a cheque. There is not much difference between a bond note and a cheque or a bearers cheque. DSTV can sit out the Zimbabwean subscriptions and go back to the old way of having the payments made outside the country. Who would benefit then? Can you blame them for refusing a means of payment that is devaluing in the streets and making prices go up in the shops? As for me I don’t really care because I pay out side the country.

          • Simon Behane

            As someone once said. In Zimbabwe there is no more foot to shoot at. All the feet are minced and no people are shooting into the ground. All what this will achieve is forcing people to pay outside the country making life rather more difficult. Unless this Lawyer has a political agenda to diminish outside broadcasts because of a coming election? Who knows. This country is awash with intelligent fools.

      • Ziyabheda

        I guess you are right from where you stand. But being a shareholder at DSTV should not influence you to advocate for anarchy by any means, for lack of a better word!

        • zibulo

          Ahh , do not be selfish , like our Govt which doesn’t care about me and YOU !!!. There is a cash liquidity crisis and now you want someone to carry the Govt’s load of providing Liquidity? Why so selfish. DSTV Zim does not directly provide the service which you pay for and do enjoy, they do it through another country and its that country which must be oaid- the service provider-DSTV zim is only a local office . If there is any company in zim that is an office for a foreign service provider, it must not pay for the sins of Govt. Sometimes i wonder hoe fellow zims think. You are the lot which is happy when there are price controls , and am sure you also were happy when shops like edgars were told/instructed to sell merchandise at bearer cheque values back then. What you do not know is that eventually all business dies due to Govt action, whilst you think they are doing it for you. Why dont you watch ZBC TV then?

          • Ziyabheda

            Dstv is not the only imported good or service in this country. Fuel,electricity, groceries, cars,clothes,everything.What chaos would ensure if all these providers said no to legal tender opting for usd? That is where my point isis!…No to anarchists

          • Doctor Do little

            Your comparison is flawed because fuel is imported by Government controlled entities and when there is a shortage of US dollars fuel gets scarce and queues form. Groceries as well people must eat. Cars are for local transport, clothes are for us to wear. Entertainment however is another matter. You don’t expect Beyonce to visit Zimbabwe and be paid in bond notes and Debit cards into a local Zimbabwe bank? DSTV pays for these channels from American and British providers and they do not pay in Bond notes. Zimbabwe could do the same and pay for channels like Supersport and rename it to Zimsports or whatever and then charge in bond notes. They would be buying it from the UK or America. Most of the channels on DSTV are rented from the USA and the UK..

          • Taurai

            Very true.

          • Ndu

            KKKK I saw this comment 2hrs ago and then it vanished into thin air.

          • zibulo

            the petrol companies have to have the USD to pay for fuewl supplies, and is it there in Zim? Answer this and carry on with the argument. The master company providing you with the service has to be paid, and there they do not use bonds. Bonds are fake money, which will lose their worth one day whilst still in your pocket. THINK BIG like Nkomo once said to us

  • Vumani

    Another stupid misinformed lawyer why should foriegn investors accept bond notes when they are worthless internationally he should instead watch local content ZBC and strive for Kwese no one is forced to subscribe to South African DSTV so why does he want to dictate how they should conduct they business an utter abuse of court process. The Zim legal profession is now undated with fools who will try to challenge anything from school fees to levies and now private Tv providers sadly law school does not teach common sense.

  • Umzila Kawulandelwa

    This lawyer is mad! He should sue the real perpetrator of the problem of bond notes!!

  • ECONOMIST PERSPECTIVE

    Mr advocate I strongly agree with you. Though they are not the cause of crises, neither is their customers.

    Muilti-choice should be like any other company in terms of accepting payments. If operating in Zim isn’t commercially viable , they should close shop.

    The current stance doesn’t benefit the common folk but actually increases the cost of access to the service, more or less the same it will if they close.

    • Doctor Do little

      What you do not understand is that they won’t close shop. They will be forced to close shop because the only thing they can use the bond note for is paying their rent and local staff and nothing more. For a foreign company they will have no “choice ” but to deprive you of “Multi Choice”.

      • ECONOMIST PERSPECTIVE

        And they are currently paying employees and other local expenses in transfers or bonds not cash. Where is the hard USA going? I agree it is hard for everyone then why punish customers?

        Is it not the same or even better if they leave? We will make arrangements.
        See what Memory and others have experienced!

        “Thanks Mr Majatame for raising the voice of the voiceless. Last month I had to run around town trying to make ac subscription with no success.I was later directed by someone to go to Mupedzanhamo kwanga kwangonyukawo an agent anga aakubhadharisa $24.00 pa Access rinoita $11.00. The explanation was: This agent had made arrangements with his friend to go and wait at Absa bank in South Africa and wait for 10 or so payments done herein Zimbabwe then he pays into Absa bank then commmunicate with this agent based here in Zimbabwe. I dont blame him because ndoozvakonzerwa ne Multichoice izvozvo kuti paitike some sort of corruption. Lets hope the law willtake its course and take appropriate action to Multichoice. Tiri kushaya bond note chairo muno munyika medu ivo voti ngatitowane US or else no viewing. m Its very unfair.

        Once again, thank you so much Mr Majatame.”

        • Jofa

          KKKK Where is the US going? You are funny man. You want them to give you charity? It goes home Situta.

          • Doctor Do little

            It’s the current mindset of how some people think. Why would anyone want to invest in a country where they cannot reap the benefits in their country of origin. Too used of begging bowls.

          • ECONOMIST PERSPECTIVE

            Unfortunately my brother you can’t argue using reasons but insults! My argument is they in Zim they trade like anyone else. Why should they propagate black market? If it’s not conducive to trade they can pack rather than punish the consumers.

            Maybe they control some spateleni traders ! Business n law work together. If you don’t like the law stay away from the market or pressurize law makers

            Ever wondered why there are no productive industries in the country ? They closed NOT FOCUS ON EXPLOITING consumers

          • zibulo

            thewy have to remit to RSA where there is the mother company, thats why bethi uyisithutha, i dont like that word either but please reason. The company sending you the Good programmes is outside the country, and they do not use bond notes there. Do you get it now?

          • Jofa

            I can apologize for that remark I made. At the same time you are blaming the wrong people. The moment the Zimbabwe Dollar was no longer quoted on the international market many reputable foreign companies and local companies that depended on foreign made and serviced machinery failed to continue operating and eventually closed shop. Some had the means to try and tide over the bad times and wait until something happened to change the wave. Nothing happened so some sunk and others fled taking with them the loses that came with the Zimbabwe dollar crash. After that happened you really expect anyone even myself to trust that this bond and this virtual money that is floating around cyber space will suffice? No. That is why I Jofa have my money in a safe place and it will never see a Zimbabwean bank until I am certain that all the crooks are behind bars. If I could open a Botswana bank account I would.

          • Sisonke

            This is the basic problem we have lapha eZimbabwe. Selfishness. As long as I can pay who cares about someone else?
            Shame on us

          • Doctor Do little

            Unfortunately it works both ways where one says “if I cannot pay I spoil for those who can.”

  • BonzoReChihuta

    Next it should be the Banks who are demanding pre-funding, in hard USD currency, of Master/Visa Cards!

    • Pink Boy

      tjo! this is latest news. is it what they are doing?

      • Fred Moyo

        yes!

    • mbuya oni

      NEXT YOU WILL GO TO PICK’N'PAY OR OK AND THEY DEMAND FOREX BECAUSE THEY IMPORT THESE GROCERIES, THEN PUMP STATIONS FOR IMPORTED FUEL, THEN CITY COUNCILS FOR THE WATER WE DRINK B’COZ CHEMICALS THEY USE ARE IMPORTANT. LOCAL TENDER IS LEGAL TENDER…FULLSTOP

  • benjamin

    It’s a correct argument though IMPRACTICAL. Unless if we are prepared to see DSTV pack it’s bags and leave us with our one ZTV.

    • Pink Boy

      but either way we r being disadvantaged,,,dstv is a idol to someone like me but with these conditions its a bid NO! They can go because we are also giving them business ah!

      • zibulo

        No they shouldnt go only because you cant pay, let those who can pay do so. If things are bad for you why want the same for others.??

  • Tyson

    Thumps up to the learned lawyer. Why demanding USD while everyone is accepting bond notes.Multi choice is sabotaging government initiatives to revive the economy.

  • Memory Masukusa

    Thanks Mr Majatame for raising the voice of the voiceless. Last month I had to run around town trying to make ac subscription with no success.I was later directed by someone to go to Mupedzanhamo kwanga kwangonyukawo an agent anga aakubhadharisa $24.00 pa Access rinoita $11.00. The explanation was: This agent had made arrangements with his friend to go and wait at Absa bank in South Africa and wait for 10 or so payments done herein Zimbabwe then he pays into Absa bank then commmunicate with this agent based here in Zimbabwe. I dont blame him because ndoozvakonzerwa ne Multichoice izvozvo kuti paitike some sort of corruption. Lets hope the law willtake its course and take appropriate action to Multichoice. Tiri kushaya bond note chairo muno munyika medu ivo voti ngatitowane US or else no viewing. m Its very unfair.

    Once again, thank you so much Mr Majatame.

    • zibulo

      what law when DSTV Zim has to pay the foreign company DSTV , and Govty does not give businesses that money? D you really understand how we receive DSTV in Zim? You only think in short , only about what you see, you do not see beyond. Govt has messed up business by not making available cash for trading and you know that, so why do you want to reap grapes from a thorn tree. If you support Zim Law , then go watch ZTV.

  • Mthwakazi

    No Usd no DSTV, is anyone forced to watch DSTV NO!!
    Those without Usd should go back to Ztv or Wiztech.

    • Pink Boy

      Kanti ususithini futhi

      • Mthwakazi

        Lawe okungama rands khonokho okubili okubamba egoli akumangalisi mani. Ubona angani ungabamba i R 2 000.00 subambe imali enengi, that’s only $ 153.00 ndoda.

    • Question Mark?

      For once, I agree with you though I suspect you are always 95% high on Johnson and Johnson Vodka. Anyone who likes DSTV deslikes our proud national ZTV. That is very very unpatriotic and an outright violation of The 99.9% Local Content Act. No lawyer worth his mantle goes to court with dirty hands! He should be arrested for publicly declaring that he is suffering a lot by watching ZTV (For what else can one watch if they are not subscribed with DSTV?)

  • Pink Boy

    Hmm, so if al the other service providers start saying they want usd what are we gonna do. which means we hav to get bond from the bank & buy the us from the black market. back to 2008. ok I see. Strive come sell airtime is us only, tiger wheels & tyre come sell the wheels in us.

  • Oh! Thnx

    Mr Lawyer, one question. What prejudice have you suffered from not watching DSTV? What have you lost? Did you swear to watch DSTV only until the son of man returns?Another one: are you familiar with the concept of free market forces-Willing buyer willing seller stuff? Another: What is the problem here; Unavailability of Foreign Currency or Refusal of Bond payments? I thought by now Zimbos know better not to legislate everything; by force. Lawyers are no economists anyway. What would they understand about imports, foreign currency exchange, Inflation, business loss?? They fight all their battles in court. ” We will meet in court” That is all they think is the solution. What a shame!

    • Jangwa

      U are brainless u… The lawyer is simply interpreting the law n insisting that dstv is not above the law. And here u are wasting time and looking foolish telling us what what, can u die without dstv. Mulitchoice is not allowed to refuse a currency that has been gazetted as legal for everyone citizen and to be used to acquire goods and services … This is a good thing for everyone. I applause this lawyer for coming thru.. And standing for the voiceless

      • zibulo

        and what will the mother company do with the Bond? what will they use to procure more entertainment for us zimbabwens , me and you , who cant watch the filth from a Govt whose laws you now suddenly support, yet the same laws repress you all your life ????? VUKA BO !!!! Every business must give the owners the right reurn on Investment , and noGovt should come to tell even you about how to run your business, its your brainchild, at your own risk ,

  • Wellington

    Misinformed lawyer trying to get cheap popularity, we all know the result will be spectacular failure

    • Sgubududu

      He’s trying to be a “prominent” lawyer like how all Bulawayo lawyers are said to be prominent.

      • mbuya oni

        HOW IS HE MISINFORMED? COMPANIES WHICH ARE IN PRODUCTION FOR EXPORT BRING IN US$ BUT HAVE TO DEAL WITH ACCEPTING USE OF BOND IN LOCAL TRANSACTIONS, RETAIL SHOPS USE OWN FOREX TO IMPORT GROCERRIES AND HAVE TO SELL IT IN BOND IF THATS WHATS AVAILABLE. WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT DSTV. THEY IMPORT ENTERTAINMENT INTO A LOCAL MARKET…. LOCAL TENDER (BOND) SHOULD APPLY. ITS THE LAW, NOT EVERYONE HAS TO LIKE IT BUT THEY CERTAINLY HAVE TO ABIDE BY IT. ZIMBABWR LACKS SUCH PEOPLE WHO WONT TAKE NONSENSE AND STAND UP WHEN NEEDED

        • zibulo

          i cant say u dont understand, but this company DSTV provides services from outside the country. its the only product they produce for existence. The wonderful viewing you enjoy comes through the USD not through the fake Bond. Are you proud of our repressive laws, once which deprive you of your freedom and rights, only because you want a service for which the provider will not get usds to continue producing/procuring? Why dont you open a similar concern and charge us Bonds, and then we will watch how long you will last in business????

      • Wellington

        kkkk reminds me of this other fraudulent one called Russel who duped people of their houses and stands he was mentioned as “prominent”

      • zibulo

        all always from East Zimbabwe , refugees

  • ndux

    I think the lawyer is right. Multichoice may nid USD to purchase e dstv service but they can get e usd through RBZ like many companies which provides needs like medicines etc kwete zveentertainment izvi zvitipedzere maUSA edu.also they can use bond & transfers for other expenses like to pay zimra, telephone services, zesa, salaries, rental, fuel etc. Why should they insist on all USD.smthng is amiss at multichoice, they probably shipping out USD as externilisation vachinyepera kubhadhara kuDSTV.they can even say 30% US & e rest bond or swipe.