SABC board meets after fire


An urgent meeting of the SA Broadcasting Corporation board was held on Thursday about a fire at its studios in Auckland Park, an SABC official said.

Chairman of the SABC board Ben Ngubane called the meeting to assess the damage, group risk management executive Sully Motsweni said in a statement.

The blaze broke out at the Henley television production studios on Wednesday night.

"The fire caused widespread damage to the production studios, but as yet a precise assessment of the cost and extent of that damage has not been finalised," said Motsweni

She said the damage was expected to run into millions of rands, and SABC had contacted its insurer.

Despite the level of damage, programmes and adverts would continue to air as usual.

"No persons were injured in the fire, but staff who were near the site at the time, including security staff, have been taken to hospital for pulmonary examinations and they have been offered trauma counselling."

Motsweni said material was produced six weeks in advance, which would give the SABC time to find alternative studios for the filming of Isidingo.

The studio usually used for Isidingo bore the brunt of the blaze.

Motsweni would head an internal inquiry into the cause of the fire, and was placed in charge of contingency plans.

Earlier, acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said interim measures were in place to ensure that production of the soapies Generations, Muvhango and Isidingo would continue.

"We have five studios which are used to produce drama and only one of them has burned down," he said in a statement.

"The public need not panic, thinking the production of their favourite soapies might be affected."

Motsoeneng said it would take a few months for operations to return to normal, but the SABC was confident it could maintain full production.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

Johannesburg emergency services spokesman Niel Rooi said the fire broke out at about 8pm on Wednesday.

Motsoeneng told Morning Live: "We are very shocked. As you know, financially we are not sound.

"This is something that we don't know how to handle [yet], but we will get there."

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