New role for 'Bop TV'

2003-07-11 18:59

Bloemfontein - The infrastructure of the homeland television station Bop TV, which is to be closed down because of financial constraints, will be used for a regional broadcasting service, the Department of Communications said on Friday.

Spokesperson Mathula Magubane said the station's infrastructure would be used to establish a service offering programmes in seTswana, sePedi, Tshivenda, TshiTsonga and Afrikaans.

An estimated audience of up to 15 million would be targeted, compared to Bop TV's current 500 000 viewers, Magubane said.

Existing skills and experience among Bop TV's staff would be used for the new service.

The SABC had been funding BOP TV since financial transfers from government to BOP Broadcasting stopped in 2002/2003.

This placed strain on the SABC's finances, forcing the public broadcaster to terminate the arrangement, Magubane said.

The former Bophuthatswana homeland government established Bop TV as its national broadcasting service. In 1996, government enacted the Former State Broadcasting Reorganisation Act, which abolished the former homeland broadcasting services. These enterprises were transferred to the SABC.

However, the Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation, responsible for Bop TV, was excluded from the 1996 act due to the existence of the North West Broadcasting Corporation Act.

The communications department subsequently took over funding of the station in 1997, and transferred its management to the SABC. Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri's announced the station's demise in Parliament in May.