The best and worst thing to happen to the SABC was the World Cup.
The best because other than gripes about the presenters and their wardrobe, people watched without question.
The worst because now that the World Cup is over, attention returns to the real state of affairs.
A year ago, everyone was up in arms because each day brought us more information about the shenanigans behind the scenes as well as the depth of the public broadcaster’s financial woes.
The World Cup served as a welcome distraction from the fact that the SABC has a bailout plan in the billions.
It is estimated that broadcasting rights for the World Cup couldn’t have been less than R200 million, while the SABC spent R26 million to rent the Sandton Convention Centre for broadcasting and R3.3 million on World Cup tickets.
This is a lot of money from an organisation that served as the catalyst for the growth of the local production industry.
I do not have a vendetta or anything else against the SABC.
My concern last year, which is the same today, is that when the SABC decided to cut down on local productions and subject us to cheap, outdated, foreign content, many lost their livelihoods.
Individuals and companies had to tighten their belts because of the large-scale incompetence of others.
We are quick to point fingers when others come into SA to tell our stories. Without broadcasting platforms like the SABC sharing the work of local productions – despite their often limited budgets – this will only continue.
Hopefully, DStv’s new local entertainment channel Mzansi Magic will serve as an avenue for the creativity that exists in Mzansi.
It has launched with three local shows – Redi Direko’s talkshow Redi on Mzansi, Thabo Mokwele’s music countdown My Top 10 @ 10 and Redi Direko’ celebrity gossip show Headline – and they have committed to working with the local production industry to create relevant content that reflects South Africa.
I sincerely hope that this will be the case and that the creativity and understanding that exists will finally have an outlet.
I also hope that the SABC can sort itself out to the point where we have an industry with multiple platforms.