SABC eats its words over New Age breakfasts

2014-02-16 14:00

The SABC has for the first time admitted that its New Age business breakfasts are more advantageous to the Gupta family, which owns the newspaper, than to the public broadcaster.

SABC head of news Jimi Matthews yesterday said the contract was coming to an end and that it will be a “very different arrangement” if it is renewed.

The breakfasts have been a bone of contention since it was revealed that the Guptas don’t pay for the airtime they receive from the SABC.

On top of that, state entities including Eskom and Trans­net pay millions of rands to sponsor the breakfasts.

Matthews told the SA National Editors’ Forum yesterday that he and SABC acting operations chief Hlaudi Motsoeneng “inherited” the New Age deal.

Motsoeneng insisted he would lobby for a sunshine journalism quota to be formalised in the SABC’s editorial code, which is currently under review.

He previously said 70% of news on SABC should reflect positive stories. Motsoeneng, who doesn’t have a matric, said: “educated people think with their brains. I think with my feet.”

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will release her ­report into maladministration and nepotism at the public broadcaster tomorrow. City Press previously reported that Motsoeneng would be fingered for misleading the SABC about his qualifications.

This comes after a skills audit by PwC found more than half of SABC’s employees don’t have a matric.

Motsoeneng said PwC failed to distinguish between “qualifications and practical experience”.

“You get two types of animals in life. Certificated persons and educated persons, who think with their brains. I think with my feet.”

Motsoeneng said people with degrees know theory, but don’t have practical experience, and PwC should have also measured this. SABC employees without matric shouldn’t be blamed, he said. You can only blame them for the work they do at the broadcaster. He also said he was not a specialist on governance. “There are other people who deal with governance.”

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