Mirror, mirror on the wall...

2011-08-18 07:24

Cape Town – While the SABC asked the South African government for a breathless R6.9 billion for the next three years to keep the beleaguered public broadcaster afloat, the SABC is now giving staff little mirrors as tokens of appreciation.

Where two years ago SABC staff were told to use less milk and disgruntled workers grumbled that “SABC management has Nescafé Gold and biscuits”, an insider revealed to Channel24 that the broadcaster is now handing out little mirrors to everyone.

“The SABC is busy handing out mirrors of about 15cm x 20cm in size to all SABC personnel,” an insider dishes.

“The frame of the mirror is in the SABC colours. On the glass of the mirror is the SABC logo and the words ‘You are the SABC’.

“I can’t believe money’s being wasted in such a time as the broadcaster asking the government for more money. A few weeks ago Madiba T-shirts were also handed out,” says the source.

News24?

Meanwhile, somebody neglected to tell the SABC that a news platform called News24 already exists.

It’s now been revealed in Parliament that the SABC is calling its proposed new 24-hour news TV channel News24. The new channel will be replacing SABC News International.

The SABC wanted to start the news channel on April 1, but told Parliament a few months ago that it had to delay until October.

The National Treasury, however, revealed on Tuesday that the SABC failed to submit “any comprehensive business plans” for News24.

The National Treasury is also still waiting for business plans for the SABC’s proposed digital sports TV channel, for digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration, as well as for the turnaround strategy business plan for SABC3 in terms of content management.

Avril Halstead, the National Treasury chief director told Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications: “It’s quite difficult to justify that financing should be allocated to these things.

“Especially when the information that we are receiving – for instance on the News24 channel – is that the SABC has done research (on 24-hour news channels) in other countries that indicated that it’s loss-making and then only later becomes profitable.”

Halstead continued: “Given the SABC’s financial position, we’re concerned that if we invest in something like that, we need to know exactly what we’re investing in, when it’s going to turn around, and when it’s going to be a profitable venture. Those are the things we are still looking for.”

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