Call for public to support SABC, as PSL blackout underlines broadcaster's money woes

2019-08-03 18:58


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The ailing public broadcaster needs everyone's support in order to "strengthen" it, says Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

The cash strapped SABC announced on Saturday that it was not in a financial position to broadcast 2019/2020 Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches.

The new season got underway on Saturday.

In a statement, the SABC revealed it had incurred a loss of R1.3bn over the past five years in relation to the broadcast of PSL matches.

"The SABC was expected to pay SuperSport R280m for 144 matches per year for a period of five years, and during that period, the SABC would have made revenue of only R9.8m per year.

"This would not have been a commercially viable agreement for the SABC," the statement read.

In the statement it declared that "maybe (it's) time that the nation accept that the SABC is incapable of meeting its requirements" and went on to say that this situation is "unacceptable going forward".

The SABC informed the public an hour before the first game kick-off's that they have no reached an "sublicense agreement" with SuperSport.

Acting Chief Operations Officer Craig van Rooyen said the "SABC would like to apologise to all South Africans".

"However, for the financial sustainability of the SABC, we will not continue with deals that are not commercially viable."

The SABC is also currently waiting a bailout from Treasury, one that would come with strict conditions.

Mthembu said it was important that South Africans rally behind the public broadcaster.

"As the public at large, we must support its strengthening and acknowledge the reversal of wrongs that took place, and protect it to reposition itself to continue to serve this noble public service mandate in the digital era," said Mthembu.

Social media influence

Mthembu was speaking at a National Press Club gathering on Friday where he accepted the 'Newsmaker of 2018' award on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mthembu said the media under apartheid was, and still is, under the constitutional democracy, a powerful institution and provides for important platforms of communication.

"It has tremendous power and influence - not just in South Africa, but on the world stage. Media, including social media, has the power to influence our thinking, attitude and behaviour. 

"Media must and should also welcome investigative journalism, courage and commitment to expose corruption, wrongs, bad, rights, good and the truth through accurate, factual and fair reporting," said Mthembu. 

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Read more on:    psl  |  sabc  |  jackson mthembu

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