Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BREAKING. and eNCA doesn't want to pay to show International Emmy award winning Miners Shot Down; tells Rehad Desai to 'drop us a free copy'.

eNCA and says filmmaker Rehad Desai can drop the Sabido-run TV news channel "a free copy" of his International Emmy winning documentary Miners Shot Down and eNCA will show it – but won't pay.

In an extremely snooty and condescending statement, eNCA, one of the TV news channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, says Rehad Desai's office "is welcome to drop off a copy at our studios" and that eNCA and will "gladly" broadcast his documentary for free.

On Sunday Rehad Desai's multi-award winning documentary about the Marikana massacre won yet another award – despite the fact that it has not been shown in South Africa by the public broadcaster, the SABC, nor or M-Net.

The hard-hitting Miners Shot Down telling the story of the Marikana miners who were gunned down by the South African Police in August 2012 and produced by Uhuru Productions has been shown earlier this year on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

Video-on-demand (VOD) services like Times Media Group's struggling VIDI and PCCW Global's have also added the documentary to their streaming catalogues.

With a growing petition circulation, calls have been growing for the SABC and to show the documentary in South Africa. While the SABC has been silent, and eNCA is now responding saying they will show it, but not if they have to pay for it.

People and production companies who produce content for broadcast, especially on commercial TV channels, are paid for their work in South Africa, as is the case internationally.

eNCA earlier this year however went through painful layoffs and downsized the business, closing bureaux and shuttering its entire African news division.

“Previously Rehad Desai wanted us to pay him to broadcast it. At the time we felt his price was too high and we had a documentary, feature stories and reports of our own,” says in a statement.

“We have not been asked by Rehad Desai to broadcast the documentary since the initial release. We therefore extend an invitation to him to accept our offer of a free broadcast should he feel the film requires further exposure to a South African audience," says says "There are no aspects to the Marikana tragedy we have not covered as a news organisation. eNCA and the SABC also broadcast the Marikana Commission of Inquiry at our own costs."

ANN7 news channel on DStv named the worst employer in South Africa, Sabido's and Telkom also shamed in Cosatu's list of worst workplaces.

ANN7 (DStv 405), the South African TV news channel from Infinity Media has been named the worst employer in South Africa by Cosatu, with Sabido's also shamed by the trade federation.

At its 12th congress held in Midrand, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) singled out ANN7, known as "Guptanews" as the worst employer in South Africa.

Over the past year and a half the Infinity Media run channel also based in Midrand has seen a spate of resignations from several on-air talent who've left since ANN7 launched, as well as production staff and journalists.

 The Gupta family-owned news television channel, ANN7, is now the worst employer in South Africa, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Infinity Media is co-owned by Oakbay Investments that belongs to the Gupta family.

ANN7 was nominated by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that represents employees at the news channel.

"If you want to be recognised as a progressive media house, pay your workers correctly," Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told the Cosatu national congress.

The Gupta owned TV news channel has constantly remained more in the news for the eye-popping and tumultuous personnel and human resources drama happening behind the scenes at its Midrand based headquarters than for anything else.

In August an ANN7 journalist physically attacked and assaulted the channel's own news editor Abhinav Sahay in the ANN7 Midrand newsroom, and since then more people left like anchors Gladys Sithole and Nzinga Qunta.

Presenter Asanda Magaqa was fired in November 2015 and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that ANN7 was guilty of unfair dismissal and ordered the channel to pay her R500 000.

Other bad employers according to Cosatu that made its list include another broadcaster - South Africa's only free-to-air commercial TV channel, as well as Telkom and the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, said Zingiswa Losi, Cosatu's second deputy president.

2016 Idols audition dates announced for the 12th season; new season of the reality singing show could move to Mzansi Magic only as M-Net starts The Voice SA.

The audition dates for the 12th season of Idols in 2016 have been announced and people who want to enter will get the chance to do so in Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

After a massive spike in voting from 24 million votes in 2014 to almost 79 million votes for the just completed season in which Karabo Mogane won, it looks as if Idols is going to become a Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) show only, although M-Net has not yet confirmed it.

Since the 7th season in 2011 Idols has been a co-production between M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) for the past four seasons.

As the viewership demographics of Idols changed over the past few years due to the dual broadcast on both channels, and with M-Net that picked up The Voice South Africa that will start at the end of January 2016 and be shown only on M-Net, it's looking increasingly likely that Idols will be moved off M-Net to a Mzansi Magic  reality competition show only.

M-Net declined to give a definite answer on Sunday when asked if M-Net is going to stop showing Idols and if the show is moving to just Mzansi Magic in 2016.

"Idols has done phenomenally well on both M-Net and Mzansi Magic," said Gideon Khobane, the M-Net director for general entertainment channels.

"What we do know is there will be a season 12 of Idols next year and there will be The Voice SA next year."

"We haven't made any announcements yet or any final decisions regarding it. We just want to see how the last voting went and ratings. There's enough space in South Africa to do both shows because we've got so much talent," said Gideon Khobane.

Idols auditions in 2016 will start at the end of January.

Durban, The Playhouse, Saturday 30 January 2016
Pretoria, The State Theatre,Saturday 6 February 2016
Johannesburg, Carnival City, Sunday 28 February 2016
Cape Town, Grand West Casino, Saturday 5 March 2016

Admin manager Dot Dicks crowned the baking winner of first season of The Great South African Bake Off on BBC Lifestyle.

Dot Dicks, an admin manager from Johannesburg was crowned as the winner of the first season of The Great South African Bake Off on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) on Tuesday night.

The start of the show, the first season of the local South African adaptation was marred when technical playout problems prevented the first episode from starting on the night BBC Worldwide said it would, causing embarrassment for BBC Worldwide in South Africa and to sponsors.

Last night, after a wedding cake bake off, Dot Dicks was announced as the winner over Teddy Zaki and Michaela Tseun in the show that was produced by Rapid Blue.

"It has still not sunk in," said Dot Dicks. "If I look back all those months ago when I first entered and got the first phone call that I was on a shortlist, I was so excited to have gotten that far."

"Never in my wildest imagination did I think I was good enough to win and there were a few close calls. I feel honoured and humbled to be crowned South Africa's best amateur baker especially if I look at my fellow competitors and all of whom are brilliant, passionate, talented bakers."

"I will always bake as it is my passion and hobby. My dream is to own a small guest house somewhere in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and serve high teas, delicate cakes, cream scones and perhaps a glass or two of bubbly."

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Killing Patton about mysterious death of World War II general is the next Bill O'Reilly book turned into a TV adaptation by the National Geographic Channel.

The National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) is expanding its "Killing" docu-film franchise and is picking up Killing Patton as the next book-to-TV adaptation from the Fox News Channel (StarSat 261) anchor Bill O'Reilly.

Killing Patton as the 5th made-for-TV movie follows after Killing Reagan was announced exactly a month ago.

Killing Patton, produced by Scott Free Productions for the National Geographic Channel, will be a 4-hour miniseries and will be based on the book published by Bill O'Reilly in 2014.

Killing Patton revolves around the death of the World War II General George S. Patton who died under mysterious circumstances in the months after the end of the war.

"Scott Free Productions and National Geographic Channel have done a brilliant job bringing to life the towering historical figures in my Killing series, and I'm very confident our continued partnership will yield a gripping film about General Patton's tragic death," says Bill O'Reilly in a statement.

Anthony Peckham who is writing the script is also the executive producer, together with Bill O'Reilly, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Teri Weinberg and Charlie Parsons.

"With their unique historical insights, absorbing narratives and A-list talent on screen and behind the scenes, the Killing films have proven must-see hits with audiences all over the world," says Tim Pastore, National Geographic's president of original programming.

"We are very excited to be re-teaming with Bill O'Reilly and Scott Free to add Killing Patton to our scripted slate."

"We’re also thrilled to have screenwriter Anthony Peckham come on board to help bring this project to life, especially given his past successes in delivering iconic characters to the big screen that have garnered critical acclaim and resonated with audiences around the globe".

BREAKING. MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International removes Animal Planet from DStv Compact; makes Travel Channel more widely available.

MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International are taking Animal Planet (DStv 183) away from DStv Compact subscribers from 10 December but are making Scripps Networks International's Travel Channel (DStv 179) available to DStv Compact and DStv Family viewers.

MultiChoice Africa and Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region are removing Animal Planet from 10 December from DStv's channel line-up in Nigeria where subscribers last month were outraged over a transgender show on Discovery CEEMEA's other channel, TLC Entertainment.

In South Africa meanwhile, Animal Planet is tiered upwards and will only be available to DStv Premium and DStv Extra subscribers from 10 December.

Taking Animal Planet away from DStv Compact subscribers is part of a "new packaging strategy for Discovery's channel portfolio," says MultiChoice in a statement.

Last week Discovery CEEMEA held its annual upfront in South Africa but said nothing about the pending Animal Planet change on DStv.

The Discovery World (DStv 187) channel, another Discovery channel available on DStv, was interestingly completely left out of the upfront and even its channel logo was nowhere to be seen. It instantly sparked speculation over whether Discovery World is going to be removed from MultiChoice's DStv platform in 2016.

Asked if the Discovery World channel will be discontinued in 2016 and why the channel was removed from the upfront, Discovery CEEMEA isn't giving a definite answer and says it "wanted to concentrate the story on less channels this year to increase the impact on the audience, and we were very pleased with the results".

Meanwhile making Animal Planet a more exclusive channel is part of "a new approach, to be announced shortly, that will align these services with DStv customers in a way that will deliver superior value to fans of Discovery's brands all over Africa," says MultiChoice.

MultiChoice says DStv Compact subscribers who watched Animal Planet can watch similar programming about wildlife and exploration on the Discovery competitor National Geographic on channels like the National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) and Nat Geo Wild (DStv 182).

Meanwhile Scripps Networks International's Travel Channel will get a wider distribution from 10 December when the channel is opened to DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers. The channel is currently only available to DStv Premium and DStv Extra subscribers.

Shiz Niz on celebrates a milestone 500th episode today at 16:00 as South Africa's longest-running hip hop TV show; will look back today at highlights.

The show Shiz Niz will celebrate its milestone 500th episode today at 16:00, looking back at highlights from previous episodes, as well as standout performances.

Shiz Niz, produced by Red Pepper Productions, is the longest-running hip hop show on free-to-air television, and has done a lot to raise awareness, grow the popularity of, and promote the local South African hip hop scene.

This afternoon viewers will be able to look back at the humble beginnings of Shiz Niz presented by Morena Sefatsa's older brother Mbuso Sefatsa.

The Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) presenter and SA's Got Talent judge Lalla Hirayama also presented Shiz Niz and viewers will be fascinated by how she has always had "mad" talent.

Today's Shiz Niz episode on will look back at previous episodes and performances and the presenters will talk to some of the Hip Legends who will share with viewers what they think of the Shiz Niz journey and the development of hip hop in South Africa.

"Hip hop has come a long way in South Africa," Shiz Niz producer Pontsho Mdakane tells TVwithThinus.

"You know that it's a significant genre when ventures such as Fill Up the Dome are opened by the minister of sport Fikile Mbalula and congratulated by the president. Shiz Niz has played a part in growing this genre in the past 500 episodes."

DStv subscribers irritated over problems with on demand service after software issues; MultiChoice apologises for DStv Catch Up problems.

MultiChoice is apologising to DStv subscribers over problems with its on demand DStv Catch Up service, saying new software is to blame for viewers not getting all their programming and that it is working on the problem.

DStv subscribers are angry over certain titles and episodes that have not been available as promised on DStv Now and on the DStv Catch Up service on their DStv PVR's over the past few weeks.

"We started experiencing challenges with delayed titles a few weeks ago when we installed a new automated workflow system," MultiChoice told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

"As with many software deployments - even though it was tested beforehand, we encountered some unforeseen issues."

"We apologise to our customers for not having all titles regularly on the DStv Catch Up service at the moment. We know how popular this service is amongst our customers."

"Our technical teams are working non-stop to ensure all delayed titles are delivered. We're confident the service will be back to normal very soon," said MultiChoice.

Last week Elemental Technologies announced that its signed a deal with MultiChoice to help the satellite pay-TV platform with the launch of a time-shifted subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service.

It's not clear whether its the integration of this software and technology that's to blame for MultiChoice's problems with the DStv Catch Up service.

Elemental, an Amazon Web Services company, said that its helping MultiChoice with its "forthcoming SVoD service" and that it will help MultiChoice to drive its video-on-demand workflows, optimise the delivery of live streamed content and support MultiChoice's future time-shift SVoD offer.

"This new offer will support MultiChoice DStv Box Office and MultiChoice DStv Catch-up such that premium subscribers can watch the latest movies, sports and television shows up to seven days after they air," said Elemental Technologies.

"MultiChoice does not have a time-shifted SVoD service, not are we planning to launch something like this anytime soon," MultiChoice told TV with Thinus in response to Elemental's press release.

Miners Shot Down wins International Emmy despite South African broadcasters refusing to show the harrowing documentary in their own country.

The hard-hitting South African documentary film Miners Shot Down telling the story of the Marikana miners who were gunned down by the South African Police in August 2012 has won an International Emmy despite South African broadcasters refusing to show the documentary in South Africa.

Filmmaker Rehad Desai's harrowing Miners Shot Down was one of three South African productions that was nominated for the 2015 International Emmy Awards.

Miners Shot Down produced by Uhuru Productions won in the documentary category telling the story of how the South African police massacred the miners in the shocking incident which left 44 miners dead.

Neither the South African public broadcaster, the SABC, nor the commercial free-to-air or pay-TV broadcaster M-Net has shown Miners Shot Down, although it has been shown on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

In a statement the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party said "the SABC should air Miners Shot Down in order to give South Africans the opportunity to see it".

"Despite repeated requests from both the filmmakers and widows of the Marikana miners, the SABC has refused to air it. The unwillingness of the SABC to air the documentary raises serious questions about whose interests they are trying to protect," says the DA in a statement.

Monday, November 23, 2015

British actor Idris Elba dumps South Africa and History channel on DStv over visa drama with daughter; media screening of new documentary ruined.

Actor Idris Elba has dumped South Africa and a History (DStv 186) channel event, and will no longer be flying here for the scrapped media launch for a new documentary after drama over an unabridged birth certificate for his daughter.

The British actor who had visited South Africa several times before and famously portrayed Nelson Mandela in 2013's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has now become the latest high-profile star to jettison South Africa over the country’s controversial and unresolved visa regulations requiring unabridged birth certificates for minors.

The extremely confusing and cumbersome unabridged birth certificate requirement has hammered South Africa's tourism industry the past few months, inflicting massive damage on the already dwindling number of overseas visitors.

It's estimated that South Africa's tourism industry will incur an estimated loss of R16 billion in 2015 alone as people who wanted to visit the country with their children opt for less onerous administrative and visa requirements and fly somewhere else for holiday.

According to sources I spoke to, A+E Networks UK that runs channels like History on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, invited some media for a special screening of a new Mandela documentary in which Elba pays homage to Nelson Mandela and his dad.

A+E Networks together with Elba would have screened and watched the new documentary, Mandela, My Dad and Me with some media in Johannesburg on Monday and Tuesday and Idris Elba would have done interviews before the documentary's broadcast later this month on History.

This will now no longer happen after the star at the last minute discovered he couldn't bring his daughter, Isan, along because of a lack of an unabridged birth certificate and decided not to fly to South Africa.

Already inside the airport in London, he decided to make a U-turn and go back home with his daughter.

A+E Networks Africa's screening for some members of the press has been abruptly cancelled as well as a press conference and interviews. 

"A huge mess. It's highly embarrassing for A+E Networks and the History channel in South Africa," a source told TVwithThinus on Sunday.

"Idris was travelling with his daughter and only at the last minute it came to light she did not have the correct paperwork to enter South Africa," Anthea Petersen, A+E Networks regional director for Africa told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

"The trip to South Africa had to be cancelled as a result. We apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused."

Mandela, My Dad and Me is a Green Door Pictures, Shine North, Woodcut Media, Bob & Co production and is distributed by Content Media. In a statement Elba said that that he is "thrilled to bring the film to Africa".

Karabo Mogane wins 11th season of Idols on M-Net and Mzansi Magic, says 'don't look at your circumstances. See what you want to be and it will come to pass'.

After garnering the bulk of the 16 million votes cast in the last week of Idols on M-Net and Mzansi Magic Karabo Mogane (24) from Mbombela in Mpumalanga was announced the winner of the 11th season of the reality singing competition on Sunday night in a live broadcast from Carnival City in Johannesburg.

Karabo Mogane triumped over Mmatema Moremi (23) from Zebiedela in Limpopo and wins a recording contract from Universal Music South Africa, as well as other prizes.

The first album of the former Stellenbosch student will be available within the next two weeks from 11 December, the quickest an Idols winner has ever released a debut album.

Karabo Mogane who will be in studio recording from 25 November to 1 December to record his album, plans to sing a wide range of music going forward.

Idols that was already renewed for a 12th season in 2016 a few months ago, set a new voting record this year with an astonishing 78.8 million votes cast, surpassing the 24.3 million votes of 2014's 10th Idols season.

Asked, M-Net declined to say specifically how many of the 16 million votes Karabo Mogane got during the final week to score the victory and said the specific voting figures would only be released next week.

"Right now, I'm excited, I don't know what's really happening, I'm really happy. And I thank God for the opportunity. For here forth I will release my album, gig as much as I can, make sure that I'm relevant and that people can see me," said Karabo Mogane on Sunday night.

He said he planned to invite all the other top contestants for a concert to Nelspruit to perform at the Mbombela Stadium for the community and to raise money for orphans and widows.

He said the Idols experience has changed him and his life tremendously.

"From where I was and where I am now my life has changed tremendously. I've become a better performer, I've learnt so much from all the mentors and going overseas and going to England for the very first time. Just a great experience," Karabo Mogane told TVwithThinus.

His advice for people who want to enter Idols in 2016 is "if it's your dream, own it. Live it, each and every single day. Whatever you confess with your mouth, if you keep on saying it and believe in it, it will come to pass regardless the circumstances."

"Don't look at your circumstances but always think ahead. See what you want to be, and it will come to pass," said Karabo Mogane.

He said he wants to use the prize money to renovate his parent's house and to buy his dad a car. "Even second-hand its fine, right?" he joked.

With the first season of The Voice South Africa starting in January on M-Net (DStv 101) the pay-TV broadcaster declined to say at the press conference on Sunday night whether the 12th season of Idols will again be shown on M-Net and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as a co-production or move to just Mzansi Magic next year.

"Idols has done phenomenally well on both M-Net and Mzansi Magic," said Gideon Khobane, the M-Net director for general entertainment channels.

"What we do know is there will be a season 12 of Idols next year and there will be The Voice SA next year. We haven't made any announcements yet or any final decisions regarding it. We just want to see how the last voting went and ratings. There's enough space in South Africa to do both shows because we've got so much talent," said Gideon Khobane.

Asked by TVwithThinus how the pay-TV broadcaster can explain the massive jump in voting from 24 million votes last season to almost 79 million votes this year, Nkateko Mabaso, the M-Net director for local entertainment channels said he attributes it to "how the Idols brand has grown".

"There's a lot more people who are obviously engaging with the brand, so that's the primary reason. The other reason is that the production company has done a tremendous job to put the show together and it just gets better every year," said Nkateko Mabaso.

"There's a much bigger audience out there," said Gavin Wratten, Idols' co-executive producer.

"Mzansi Magic has grown phenomenally well, so to be on both channels, you've got such a huge audience. Most of it is down to the contestants. The whole Top 10 this year worked incredibly hard. The better the contestants, the better the season."

M-Net said it will be making several announcements later this week regarding local shows and local productions on M-Net (DStv 101) and what the channel's plans are for the upcoming year.

Auditions for the 12th season of Idols will start on 30 January 2016 in Durban and then move to Pretoria (6 February), Johannesburg (28 February) and Cape Town (5 March).

Friday, November 20, 2015

SABC again at war with itself as new - and now suspended - SABC CEO Frans Matlala fights back against his suspension and exposes shocking lapses of corporate governance.

The beleaguered and pathologically ill SABC is once again at war. With itself.

Barely four months after finally appointing its next CEO - the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation's 9th since 2009 - Frans Matlala is now out of his seat and fighting against the SABC, battling the SABC over his suspension and exposing rot and shocking alleged lapses of corporate governance at the public broadcaster.

Through his lawyer, Joe Mothibi of Norton Rose Fulbright, Frans Matlala wrote to the SABC on 17 November demanding that the SABC reinstate him and immediately lift his shocking suspension by this Tuesday.

If this doesn't happen, Frans Matlala plans to take the SABC to the High Court.

Frans Matlala's legal representation told the SABC that the public broadcaster did not follow legal process to suddenly suspend him.

"Our client views your conduct to be unreasonable, unlawful and not in the best interest of the SABC," Frans Matlala's lawyer told the SABC.

Lacking any transparency over the reasons for the SABC top boss' suspension, the SABC which is in the business of communication and is ostensibly supposed to be a public broadcaster, is refusing to say why yet another SABC CEO has abruptly been suspended.

Now Frans Matlala has become the next SABC CEO, similar to several in the recent past few years, to not only be suspended, but to fight back against the SABC once again being damaged and torn by revelations denting its already tattered image as a public broadcaster in the eyes of ordinary South Africans.

While the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has not been suspended after almost two years since the Public Protector's scathing report implicating him in gross maladministration and abuse of power, Frans Matlala got barred from SABC doors after just four months.

Frans Matlala claims that he was helping Treasury who asked his help with an investigation into the shocking R40 million new SABC studio ordered by Hlaudi Motsoeneng that was never put out to tender.

The new SABC studio of R39 380 000 excluding VAT was quickly constructed for use of Rugby World Cup coverage and for use by the SABC News (DStv 404) channel to do news coverage.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng - currently himself the subject of an upcoming disciplinary hearing and who last month went on a "voluntary leave of absence" without being suspended - admitted that the studio contract never went out to tender as it's supposed to.

According to Frans Matlala, the SABC's chairperson Obert Mbulaheni Maguvhe ordered him on 11 November to stop helping Treasury with the investigation into the SABC studio procurement process.

It's not clear why the SABC chairperson would prevent a SABC CEO to help with a Treasury investigation. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry on Thursday why the SABC board and chairperson wanted Frans Matlala to stop helping the Treasury investigation.

In another bombshell relevation, Frans Matlala is directly criticising the SABC, saying the process to appoint the attorneys of Werksmans Attorneys to act in the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is flawed. Again, no comment from the SABC's Kaizer Kganyago asked about this.

Frans Matlala says he was given no chance to make any representation before he was abruptly served his suspension letter, and was suspended after the controversial minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, gave the greenlight.

As previous suspended and then fired SABC board members earlier this year has said, Frans Matlala reiterates that the SABC board does not have a quorum to suspend him or to start disciplinary proceedings against him - the unstable SABC board is gutted and has been rocked by several resignations and firings directly done and influenced through Faith Muthambi.

The SABC's spokesperson Kaizer Kgangayo, asked if this is a correct allegation, didn't respond.

Frans Matlala says he wrote directly to president Jacob Zuma to apologise for the huge embarrassment of the SABC earlier this month when the SABC's Twitter feed wrote "WHAT.THE.F-!!!" after reports over a R4 billion Zuma jet to be procured for the South African president.

Frans Matlala says SABC policy and his contract states he as SABC CEO is the main point of contact between the public broadcaster and the government.

Yet his suspension includes a charge that he was allegedly "not authorised" to be in contact with Jacob Zuma.

The SABC was asked if it can please explain why there seems to be this discrepancy between what Frans Matlala's contract and SABC policy states, and why Frans Matlala would be charged in his suspension for doing something he is allowed, and supposed, to do.

The SABC didn't respond.

With the now fracturous relationship between Frans Matlala and the SABC and the collateral damage once again being inflicted on the battered SABC brand, it's not clear whether the suspended CEO who had previously been a consultant for the SABC, will remain - or for how long.

With a clearly damaged relationship, and given what has been happening with multiple SABC CEO's in the past, it's likely that the environment and relationship between the dysfunctional SABC top executive and SABC board and Frans Matlala has now suddenly become too toxic for him to really return and serve out the remainder of his contract.

The same mess and in-fighting and political interference that keeps plaguing the SABC and that has once again engulfed the upper management echelons of the SABC is once again further destabilising the public broadcaster and exposing shocking alleged lapses of corporate governance inside the public broadcaster.

The SABC, lurching from crisis to crisis, just posted a R401 million loss in its latest financial report, doesn't have an on-site COO and sits with 6 vacant seats on the SABC board which haven't been filled for months.

The latest row between the SABC and it's own suspended CEO makes clear exactly how gutted and (once-again) completely rudderless South Africa's public broadcaster is in a massive storm.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

David Mbeha from Namibia wins TLC Entertainment's Next Great Presenter search; says 'I made a promise to my mother that I will really pursue this dream'.

A beaming David Mbeha from Namibia has won the TLC Next Great Presenter search competition, with the Namibian from a small town saying in a moving speech that he made a promise to his mother to pursue his dream of becoming a TV presenter.

David Mbeha will now become the on-air presenter of the 4-part show TLC Top 10 starting on TLC Entertainment (DStv 172) on Thursday, 3 December.

TLC Top 10 as a new programming strand on TLC Entertainment will broadcast over the course of 4 episodes some of the most popular programming on the channel since 2011 with David Mbeha introducing and talking about it.

David Mbeha who won the lion's share of the vote beating Mpiwa Bagwasi from Botswana and Star Khulu from South Africa in the top 3.

He was announced the winner on Wednesday night at a swanky programming upfront presentation at Level Three in Johannesburg where Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region held the factual entertainment brand's annual content preview for 2016.

As part of his presenting prize David Mbeha wins a holiday for two to the island of Bali, as well as a feature article in the January 2016 issue of South Africa's Cosmopolitan.

"I grew up with this huge dream of one day wanting to be a TV host. Coming from a very small town in Namibia where nothing much really happens, I really want to go on to work with a brand that strives to find and celebrate everyday differences," said David Mheba.

"TLC Entertainment is a brand that is passionate, and tells riveting stories, and has such unique content - content that you would never find on any other channel."

"Last year in June I made a promise to my mother that I will really pursue this dream, and chase it no matter what, to become a TV presenter. And that is what I have really done from day one. And tonight I've fulfilled that dream," said David Mbeha.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BREAKING. SABC CEO Frans Matlala abrutptly suspended after just 4 months on the job pending an investigation; SABC top management basically gutted.

Top management instability and scandal continues to rock the SABC with the beleaguered South African public broadcaster that has suspended the new SABC CEO Frans Matlala with immediate effect pending an investigation that the SABC doesn't want to talk about.

The SABC's acting chief operating officer (COO) and head of news Jimi Matthews is now taking over as acting CEO.

Jimi Matthews who himself was accused of assault charges earlier this year was already standing in for the embattled and highly controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who is facing a disciplinary hearing and went on "extended leave".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng went on "extended leave" following a recent order of the Supreme Court of Appeal, coming more than a year after the February 2014 report from the Public Protector which directly implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in abuse of power and maladministration at the SABC.

Frans Matlala took over in July as the umpteenth SABC CEO after several SABC CEO's were fired and resigned in previous years without finishing their contract terms.

Frans Matlala is the SABC's 9th CEO since 2009.

Management and executive instability as well as political interference continue to rock the struggling public broadcaster which reported a loss of R403 million for the latest financial year.

Meanwhile a a long-delayed process has been delayed even further to try and replace just two out of 6 long-vacant positions on the SABC board.

The firing of SABC board members causing some of these vacancies are itself the subject of a legal challenge in the North Gauteng High Court

Meanwhile the process to find replacements for the most "recent" empty seats on the SABC board hasn't even started yet. Besides the two positions of which the replacement process is delayed due to a parliamentary strike, there's 4 further empty SABC board positions.

The SABC top management structure and SABC board is totally gutted: the SABC is now without a CEO and a COO, along with several empty seats on the SABC board, while several other top executive positions at the SABC also remain unfilled.

"The board of the SABC today suspended with immediate effect the group CEO Frans Matlala pending an investigation," is all the embattled SABC managed to put out to the media in a terse statement todayby SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"The SABC’s group executive for news and current affairs, Jimi Matthews, will be acting CEO during this time," said the SABC in the statement.

"The organisation will not comment further on this matter, until all processes are finalised," said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, refusing to say why Frans Matlala was suddenly suspended, further deepening the ongoing management crisis at the SABC.

The SABC remains riddled with top management turn-over and financial problems, personnel unhappiness, accusations of political interference and an unstable SABC board with numerous vacancies.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party was quick to react to the latest chapter of the SABC's ongoing crises, with Phumzile Van Damme, the DA's shadow minister of communications saying in a statement that the suspension of SABC CEO Frans Matlala "was carried out with virtually no reasons provided to parliament and the public".

She called on the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi to "come clean" on the reasons for Frans Matlala's sudden shocking suspension.

She said Faith Muthambi must "urgently provide the reasons for Frans Matlala's suspension and urgently fix the permanent state of chaos in order to restore much lost credibility to the SABC".

Time again for the best annual TV upfront in South Africa as Discovery Networks CEEMEA gets ready to showcase what viewers will see in 2016.

The best annual TV upfront in South Africa – the one from Discovery Networks International – is once again set to wow TV and ad execs, TV critics and ad buyers today.

Discovery is set to trot out its on-screen TV talent and executives as it previews its upcoming channel content for the 2015 festive period and the whole of 2016.

The past few years Discovery Networks South Africa's annual programming upfront has constantly ranked tops among all TV channels and broadcasters, followed by Disney South Africa and then BBC Worldwide South Africa.

The three, with Discovery far in the lead, are the only ones who bring a level of razzle-dazzle and provide a lot of programming information at annual upfront events most other local and international TV channels and broadcasters don't care to invest in or do.

Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region remains the only of the TV content providers in South Africa and operating in the Africa region that not only does an annual upfront, but at their showcase event also rolls out high-level executives, local and international TV talent and gives advertising executives and the media a detailed, year-long glimpse of what the next year holds across all of its individual channels.

On Wednesday evening, after a selection of stars from across the various Discovery channels have done media interviews, Discovery Networks CEEMEA is once again set to show the South African TV biz not just why its necessary to do a programming upfront and to create buzz around your TV shows, but how to properly do your show-and-tell.  

Discovery Networks CEEMEA will once again take the 250 invited media and advertiser guests through the programming highlights for the whole new year for each of its channels like Discovery Channel, Discovery World, Animal Planet and TLC Entertainment at its upfront at Level Three in Johannesburg.

Tonight Discovery will also announce the winner of its TLC Next Great Presenter campaign who will present the 4-part series TLC Top 10 in December.

Besides on-screen Discovery channels' stars like magician Troy Von Schneibner, the "Lion Queen" Andi Rive and Whitney Thore of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, a phalanx of Discovery executives are once again jetting in to South Africa.

Some of the senior management set to show at this evening's Discovery Networks upfront are Kaisa Kieli (president and managing director Discovery Networks CEEMEA), James Gibbons (executive vice president for emerging business), Lee Hobbs (vice president of channels for emerging business), Debbie Brady (commercial director for emerging business) and Matt Brown (creative manager for emerging business).