‘Hlaudi Motsoeneng canned The Big Debate’

2013-10-17 18:19

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Acting SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has pulled the trigger on the corporation’s popular talk show, The Big Debate.

Motsoeneng has instructed the SABC2 commissioning bosses to bin the second season of the show, which was supposed to have started tonight.

Read: Who is Hlaudi Motsoeneng?

He also instructed them not to air the repeats of all the programmes they have already flighted on the channel.

Host Siki Mgabadeli has confirmed that the corporation canned the show and said they were trying to secure a meeting with Motsoeneng to establish the rationale behind his decision.

Mgabadeli said they had a meeting with the commissioning bosses about two months ago where they discussed the scripts of the shows they would shoot for the second season and they happily signed them off.

“We shot three episodes on the costs of telecommunications, the Marikana incident and another one in the US, which was funded by the UN,” she said.

The former SAfm presenter said they sent the commissioning bosses an email and asked them when they could submit the episodes for previewing, but they sent them from pillar to post.

On October 9, Mgabadeli said, they received an email from the commissioning bosses stating that the show has been canned and that there was no need for them to preview the episodes.

Their letter said it was an instruction from the chief operating officer (Motsoeneng).

“I’m so angry. We are talking here about the right of South Africans to know issues around telecommunications costs and the Marikana incident. The UN, which funded the show we filmed in the US, would want to view this show because they funded it. And what about people’s jobs in our production house?” she asked.

Mgabadeli was not forthcoming when asked if they would take the show to other media houses.

“We are going to shoot two more episodes in Cape Town this coming Saturday and we hope that we can resolve this matter with the SABC very soon. At the moment, we don’t even want to think about moving it to other media houses,” she said.

The show is donor sponsored and the content doesn’t cost the SABC a cent.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the programme had been ''incorrectly commissioned'' by the SABC when it was ''outsourced', Paddy Harper reports.

''It is against the policies of the SABC to outsource news and current affairs. Editorial responsibility for all news and current affairs content is vested in the newsroom. The Big Debate, which is a current affairs programme, was incorrectly commissioned by SABC2 and in so doing, the editorial oversight, which is the responsibility of the newsroom, was compromised,'' he said.

''This is all we are prepared say about the matter,'' he said.

» A date in this article was corrected after first published. The email mentioned was sent on October 9, not September 9. Kaizer Kganyago's comment was also added after he responded to an enquiry.

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