Will the SABC say bye-bye to 90%?

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. (Gallo Images)
SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – The out-of-cash SABC is set to scrap the debilitating 90% local content broadcasting decree introduced in July 2016 that completely drained the SABC's coffers, disrupted its income streams and ad revenue, and saw listeners and viewers flee.

The Post reports that the SABC's new interim board is urgently set to scrap and "overturn" the local content decree that was unilaterally introduced by the public broadcaster'former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng in mid-July that decimated SABC audiences ranging from the listenership of radio stations like Lotus FM to TV channels like SABC3. 

Parliament's special ad hoc committee investigating maladministration within the SABC was told in January that Motsoeneng's abrupt and unilateral local content edict which he several times claimed personal credit for as his sole idea, was never a policy and was never tabled before the SABC board as a decision for a vote.

The SABC's new interim board, tasked with trying to save the beleaguered South African public broadcaster, is now taking action to "overturn" the 90% local content implementation.

This will see the SABC return to the previous 60% local content quota – the standard set by South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

Motsoeneng's 90% radio needletime for local music and 80% TV content decisions for SABC3 saw dramatic listenership and viewership losses for the SABC over the past 9 months.

Meanwhile the SABC also had to ramp up spend on costly local content - an unsustainable situation for the already battling broadcaster now on the brink of financial collapse and urgently needing another bail-out.

"We are not diverting from local content," SABC interim board member Krish Naidoo told The Post. "We are just trying for a more structured approach."

Naidoo who said Motsoeneng's "90% local" decision undermined the entire business" of the SABC, said that he will "support it to be scrapped". "It impacted on the entire revenue stream. Both listeners and advertisers dropped, likely as a consequence of 90:10".

He said the SABC will look at a new process of to develop local content that will be done in consultation with artists and communities.  

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