SABC to change standards for buying programmes

2013-02-06 16:49

The SABC’s chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, admits the way the South African public broadcaster bought programming for broadcast is “ridiculous” and says that one person is no longer responsible for deciding what the SABC buys, and then shows, on television.

In terms of television programming for its three TV channels, the SABC for years continued to buy substandard and inappropriate international programming, and signed terrible package deals, forcing the broadcaster to take trash television, which it simply kept paying for.

Meanwhile, SABC executives, some not skilled or versed in international programming acquisition protocol continued to jet to international buying markets, sometimes flying in luxurious first class, and picking up programming wholly unsuitable for the SABC, while executives were wined and dined in exotic locales by sellers.

Besides sitting with bad TV shows, the broadcasting licensing periods of content deals of the SABC also lapsed – the window of time a broadcaster gets to start broadcasting the acquired episodes of a production – after which it forfeits the rights. This happened because of bad scheduling, ineptitude and mismanagement within SABC ranks.

Ngubane said that purchase decisions can no longer be decided by one executive alone and that consensus from all executives is required.

“Now is the time for SABC to work very hard to make sure that we double our efforts or we triple our efforts,” said Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC’s acting chief operating officer.

At a hastily convened press conference at the SABC’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Ngubane said that the SABC had just paid another R416 million back of its government bailout of R1.47 billion, which the SABC got in 2009 in the form of a government-guaranteed loan. The SABC still owes R230 million.

“We now know that we have paid R400 million. We don’t have that money in the bank any more. We need to make sure that we generate money.”

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