Motsoeneng steps in over Zuma TV deal – report

2016-07-10 10:25
Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Picture: City Press)

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Picture: City Press)

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Cape Town  SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng pushed through a R167-million contract for Uzalo, a television drama produced by a company co-owned by President Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Gugu Zuma-Ncube, the Sunday Times reported.

The show was meant to be a limited season 'telenova' at a cost of R50.5 million. A review panel met in April last year to discuss Stained Glass Productions' proposal to extend the contract for another three years.

There would be four seasons of 13 episodes a year produced by the company co-owned by Zuma-Ncube and Kobedi 'Pepsi' Pokane.

The panel's concerns reportedly included the lack of a business plan, a budget 10 times that usually needed to produce a 13-part series, and problems with "writing, aesthetics and delivery" in the first season. 

An unnamed panel member said when Zuma-Ncube heard there was no second season, she and Pokane complained to Motsoeneng, and the decision was reversed.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that Motsoeneng overruled the decision, but would not discuss contractual issues in public.

Motsoeneng overruled decision

"The SABC can confirm that the COO overruled the decision not to renew Uzalo, based on performance in its genre and growth in revenue," said Kganyago.

He added that Motsoeneng did meet with production companies from time to time.

Zuma-Ncube referred a request for comment to Pokane, who denied that they had complained to Motsoeneng.

"We received a letter of intent to recommission. Therefore there was no need to complain to anyone," he told the publication.

The news comes as concern grows over Motsoeneng's tendency to directly involve himself in departmental decisions such as instructing that images of violent protests should not be shown during its news broadcasts.

The newspaper reported an unnamed TV producer as saying he was told by SABC staffers Uzalo had become a political tool and because it was a product of Zuma's daughter, the money to continue producing the programme had be found.

Read more on:    sabc  |  jacob zuma  |  hlaudi motsoeneng

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