Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bold plans for SABC TV

By Siyabonga Sithole, The New Age online, Johannesburg, 6 June 2016 - for the original article click here.

Public broadcaster announces local content policy for its three channels as early as July 1

Last week was yet another big week for the SABC as the public broadcaster announced sweeping changes that will take the South African television industry by storm as early as July 1.

After forging ahead with the 90% local content policy across all its 18 radio stations, SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has his sights on extending 80% local content on the public broadcaster’s three television channels as well as the three new ones that are being launched.

Motsoeneng was in the company of his team made up of chief executive officer Jimi Matthews, head of television Verona Duwarkah, head of radio Leslie Ntloko and others when he made the announcement at M1 Studios in Auckland Park on Tuesday.


First up is SABC3, which is dominated by foreign content.

“When I switch on the TV to SABC3 I do not feel that I am South African. There is too much American content on this channel. This can’t be right in our country,” Motsoeneng told those gathered at M1 Studios.

“We want R1.7bn of the R2bn that Arthur Mafokate was talking about to remain here. We will give them 10% because we want to know what is happening in other countries.”

Stars such as Khanyi Mbau, Pearl Modiadie, former Generations cast members Winnie Ntshaba and Sophie Ndaba, television presenter and singer Ntombi Mzolo, choreographer Somizi Mhlongo and record label boss Arthur Mafokate, among others, were unveiled as the public broadcaster’s new top talent.

“This month is action month and we are taking the SABC to another level,” Motsoeneng said.


“We remain unapologetic about 90% local content on all our platforms. For us to develop local talent we need people like Somizi Mhlongo and all those who are here to provide us with high-quality content.”

Motsoeneng said he wanted his staffers to sing the same song as he. “If you are an SABC employee you must walk like me and talk like me. You can’t take left when I take right,” he said.

With radio having begun the pro-local-content journey more than three weeks ago, head of television Verona Duwarkah said the SABC had put aside R600m [Blogger's note: many people want to know where this amount will come from - for the 2015 SABC financial report click here; refer page 33] to boost the decision to have 90% of its content on both radio and television locally produced.

“We have set aside a budget for aspiring local content producers, specifically to create content in various South African languages in the provinces,” Duwarkah said.

“We have already trained more than 23 content producers. The plan is to roll out the skills development to 60 individuals so that they can develop content in their regions in the languages that are dominant in those regions.”

Ndaba and Ntshaba said they were glad to be back home where their careers had started. The two have joined forces to form their own production company to provide
the public broadcaster with riveting local content.

Ntshaba said: “We are grateful to the SABC for welcoming us back home. He (Motsoeneng) said he fired us, which he did, but we are happy to be back... We have great content, even if we say so ourselves and we hope that you will love it as well.”

Ntshaba also said the rumours that they were being mentored by their former boss, Mfundi Vundla, were not false. “I would like to confirm the rumours that MMSV Productions was mentoring us. Yes, we are working with Mfundi Vundla and he is mentoring us as part of the SABC’s incubation programme,” Ntshaba said.

Ndaba said it felt good to be back home where her career had started more than 22 years ago. “We are more excited now that we are moving onto the next level,” she said. “We are now saying to the producers out there that we have arrived and we are on operation thatha zonke (take all) at the SABC. “We hope that we will provide content that will excite South Africa.”