Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FOX on DStv and StarSat gets new dramas Minority Report, Scream Queens; will debut 2nd season of Empire within 24 hours after America.

FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) has emerged and continues to be the strongest new competition for M-Net, adding hot brand-new dramas Minority Report and Scream Queens for September and showing these two as well as the second season of hit series Empire all within hours after broadcast in America.

FOX International Channels and FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) is further closing the gap between the time that hit and premium new television is shown in America and when its broadcast in South Africa and across the rest of the African continent.

Science fiction drama Minority Report based on the Steven Spielberg movie (look out for The Simpsons seen inside it which is still on TV in 2065!) will start on FOX on 22 September at 20:30.

The new horror thriller Scream Queens from Glee's Ryan Murphy filled with the original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and a killer cast on the receiving end of a serial killer on campus starts on FOX on 23 September at 20:30.

Then there's the second season of the new uber-hit Empire with crazy Cookie, the second season of which will start on FOX in South Africa on 24 September at 21:00.

Like what M-Net (DStv 101) does with its "Express from the US" series and AMCI Zone's AMC channel on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's StarSat now does with Fear the Walking Dead; FIC Africa is now also doing with FOX.

Minority Report, Scream Queens and Empire will all be shown in South Africa within hours after episodes are shown in the United States in high definition (HD) on DStv, as well as on StarSat.

Minority Report has a first season of 13 episodes and stars detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good) fighting crime with Stark Sands' character who get vision of the future - and of crimes to be committed before they happen.

Scream Queens has Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Niecy Nash, Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande as well as Emma Roberts. They run around and ... scream ... in fear in this new highly anticipated drama series focusing on a string of college campus murders as a devil-clad killer wreaks havoc.

Empire will continue with a highly anticipated second season of 18 episodes with Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard and several guest stars in the upcoming season ranging from Alicia Keys and Ludacris to Kelly Rowland and Chris Rock.

TV specials about O.J. Simpson - with shocking new unearthed recordings - coming to Crime + Investigation channel on DStv in October.

Photo: Lawrence Schiller. All Rights Reserved

Timed with the 20th anniversary of the controversial verdict viewers can watch two brand-new documentaries chronicling the troubling O.J. Simpson persona in October on the Crime+Investigation (DStv 170) channel in October.

The programmes promise "shocking audio recordings of O.J. Simpson" as well as gripping civil trial deposition tapes unearthed.

The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story will broadcast on A+E Networks' Crime+Investigation channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa on Tuesday 6 October at 21:00.

O.J. Speaks: The Hidden Tapes will be broadcast on C+I a week later on Tuesday 13 October at 21:00.

On 3 October 1995 what became known as the "trial of the century" ended with O.J. Simpson's acquittal on the charges of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Two decades later, shocking recordings and interviews - much of which have never been heard until now, are revealed in the C+I documentaries.

Filmmaker and author Lawrence Schiller, who is a close confidant to Robert Kardashian, shares his unique and exclusive access into the case and trials against O.J. Simpson.

The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story on Crime+Investigation reveals new insights into the events surrounding the verdict of the criminal trial and the various disturbing facets of O.J. Simpson's personality through never heard before statements made by Simpson himself.

For the first time in 20 years, an audio recording that O.J. Simpson taped, prior to the infamous Bronco highway chase will be heard. This TV special also features rare interviews with people on both sides of the case, including commentary from Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner.

O.J. Speaks: The Hidden Tapes provides unique access to the civil trial, which found O.J. Simpson responsible for the wrongful deaths. It will give viewers exclusive access to the plaintiff's deposition tapes from the civil trial which were locked away and buried in a storage warehouse for 20 years.

Executive producers Stephen Auerbach and Chuck Braverman worked with Fred Goldman to obtain the insightful deposition tapes and the special programmes are produced fir A+E Networks by ABC Productions.

Rise! on SABC1 adds Mbali Qotyana to the weekly female talk show panel.

Mbali Qotyana has been added to SABC1's female panel talk show Rise! on Tuesdays at 18:00 withveteran talk show host and moderator Kgomotso Matsunyane.

Mbali Qotyana joins Khanyisile Mazibuko, artist Lebo Shikwambane and Lebogang Ramafoko.

The talk show aimed at women between 15 and 24, discuss "taboo issues that would otherwise fall through the cracks".

Rise! started in mid-May on SABC1.

Monday, August 31, 2015

BREAKING. American president Barack Obama to trek through the Alaskan wilderness with Bear Grylls in special episode of Discovery Channel's Running Wild.

America's president Barack Obama will tackle nature's challenges when he appears in a special episode with survivalist Bear Grylls in  Discovery Channel's (DStv 121) Running Wild with Bear Grylls.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls started in May on the Discovery Channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and sees the survivalist take celebrities with him as they endure harsh wilderness in remote locations in high-octane, action-based and empowering journeys.

Now the outgoing president Barack Obama will trek through the Alaskan wilderness with Bear Grylls.

The episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls will be recorded soon and broadcast later this year to help highlight the effects of climate change in Alaska.

"President Obama will meet with Bear Grylls while visiting Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the area. The two will then come together in the Alaskan wilderness. President Obama will become the first US president to receive a crash course in survival techniques from Bear Grylls."

Celebrities like Channing Tatum, Kate Winslet, Kate Hudson, Zac Efron, Ben Stiller and others have already joined Bear Grylls in his wilderness treks.

BREAKING. Zabalaza cancelled; Mzansi Magic axes the struggling soap after just 3 years after ratings and viewer interest waned.

The Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) soap Zabalaza is cancelled, with the M-Net supplied channel on MultiChoice's DStv which has axed the soap which has been struggling in the ratings.

Zabalaza will end its run in April 2016 after just three years.

Zabalaza was launched with big fanfare in 2013 but tanked with viewers and interest waned.

Urban Brew produced the now cancelled Zabalaza - and is interestingly also responsible for the new Gold Diggers, a telenovela with almost the same theme and background, for free-to-air channel

Zabalaza followed the launch of the channel's first telenovela Inkaba and Isibaya but Zabalaza with its township backdrop never became appointment television with viewers as M-Net and Mzansi Magic hoped.

"Zabalaza will also create appointment viewing," said Yolisa Phahle, M-Net's director of local interest channels at the time and now CEO of M-Net South Africa, although it never happened.

Producers and the channel tried in vain to reset the struggling soap by literally burning down the setting at the end of the second season and starting "a new era" at the beginning of the third season, moving much of the story line to an urban milieu in the same way SABC3's troubled Isidingo moved from its mining roots.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net's director for local interest channels confirms that Zabalaza is cancelled but says Mzansi Magic is "proud of the success sustained by Zabalaza in its three year run".

According to Nkateko Mabaso, Zabalaza , shown Mondays to Thursdays at 21:00, has "upped the standard of the local soap offering and we hope that we can continue to raise the bar".

Mzansi Magic has not announced what will fill the Zabalaza space and timeslot once the cancelled local show broadcasts its final episodes early next year.

Chewie or an Ewok for dinner? The Force is strong with M-Net Movies' Star Wars pop-up channel on MultiChoice's DStv - as well as with its website.

Chewie or an Ewok for dinner? The Force is not just strong with M-Net and DStv's temporary Star Wars pop-up channel which launched today on channel 109 - the specially created website has the droids (and a game and the prizes) you were looking for.

The temporary Star Wars pop-up channel (DStv 109) has launched on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform today showing all of the Star Wars movies, but viewers can also watch fascinating documentaries and featurettes about the sprawling science fiction saga, as well as episodes of the final season of animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

M-Net Movies' Star Wars pop-up channel will run until 13 September - basically for half a month.

"We wanted to create a schedule which broadcast a title every night as well as a binge-viewing session," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"This plays out perfectly over one week and those who miss the movies during the first week have the opportunity to watch it in the second week".

"Star Wars is one of the biggest movie franchises ever and as a special treat to DStv Premium customers it made sense to create a special channel prior to the launch of the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, later this year".

With the Star Wars pop-up channel on DStv comes a strong tie-in web presence, where people can not just read and learn more, but also play, win prizes like tickets to the movie at the end of the year, and have to choose things like who'd make a better dinner guest - Chewbacca or an Ewok.

"Star Wars features 7th on 'Most popular topics on Facebook' and is popular throughout the world wide web," says Lani Lombard as to why M-Net and DStv decided to create a strong, concurrent online experience for fans at

"M-Net also has a strong digital presence with all its biggest properties and the Star Wars online experience is enhancing the content in a fresh way - what you would expect from M-Net Movies".

The Star Wars pop-up channel which is available across Africa in high definition (HD) to DStv Premium subscribers is showing all 6 Star Wars movies in chronological order, based on the year of release.

A new film is shown daily at 06:00 and repeated at 19:30 on the same day. On Sundays all the movies screened during the week are shown, and the films are also available on DStv's Catch Up service.

Zola abrupty gone from Mzansi Magic's Utatakho as presenter; Nimrod Nkosi awkwardly in as new presenter of the lurid paternity testing reality show.

Hit with production disruption, Mzansi Magic's (DStv 161) new Utatakho reality series testing dads for paternity suddenly got rid of presenter Zola, with Nimrod Nkosi awkwardly stepping in to take over from the original presenter mired in a maintenance scandal.

Mzansi Magic confirms that Bonginkosi Dlamini, better known as Zola is out and Nimrod Nkosi is in in a highly embarrassing and unprofessional presenter switch for the already tawdry show.

Mzansi Magic isn't saying why presenters who sign contracts for full seasons are allowed to leave, but Nimrod Nkosi is now taking over for Bonginkosi Dlamini who filmed only 8 episodes after no longer being involved.

Mzansi Magic says Zola is "stepping down as presenter due to his increasingly busy schedule" although its strange that Mzansi Magic signed the embattled artist before making sure his "busy schedule" can accomodate the new series doing DNA testing across the country.

Zola, mired in a maintenance scandal, recently told Move! magazine he's stopped paying child support for his children since the mother allegedly neglects the kids and isn't allowing him to see them.

Zola apparently has a "demanding scale" of commitments "including his musical career and philantrophy work" and is dumping Utatakho "to put his full weight behind these commitments".

Nimrod Nkosi meanwhile says he bring his "unique brand of hosting talent to the show," which does DNA testing on Tuesdays at 20:00 on Mzansi Magic similar to the low-brow American talk show Maury and previously also on the cancelled Montel Williams and Trisha on The Sony Channel (DStv 127).

"Utatakho is a docu-reality series that focuses on resolving issues of paternity with the help of DNA testing," says Mzansi Magic. Nimrod Nkosi helps with "the important task of helping South Africans answer some questions with regards to their parentage and identity."

SABC3 repeats the same episode of Minute to Win It on Friday night making it two weeks in a row - showing the episode for the 3rd time.

There's been no explanation, nor apology from the SABC for showing the same episode of Minute to Win It on SABC3 for two weeks in a row - the third time the episode has been shown on the SABC now.

On Friday evening on 28 August, SABC3 repeated the same Minute to Win It episode from the previous Friday, 21 August. The episode is already a rebroadcast from the season which was shown before and is being repeated.

"The entire season was broadcast previously, which makes this repeat even more irritating," says SABC3 viewer Colin Corbett told TV with Thinus.

"And why is it that the SABC broadcasts repeats when they have new shows that are taken off the schedule at the last minute? It seems counter-intuitive to broadcast repeats when new programmes remain unshown".

"Shame on you SABC3 head of programming," said Joan Keane. "Wake up and do your job. Repeat after rerun after repeat after rerun. Whether its programmes, documentaries, movies, songs. The list goes on!"

"Stop repeating programmes for consecutive weeks," asks SABC3 viewer Bruce Basson.

"SABC3, I wonder if you could train a chimpanzee to press repeat. Because if you could, you might employ him for free and use the money you've saved to buy new shows," said Devin Du Plessis.

"Really SABC3? This is the third time you have broadcast this episode of Minute to Win It! It it so hard to get it right?" asked Pamela van Wyk.

In 2014 SABC3 showed the same episode of The Transporter three times in a row over three weeks and in June this year the SABC's only commercial TV channel again angered viewers by botching The Good Wife and showing several episodes of the 4th season completely out of order.

Mzansi Magic's latest telenovela The Road conjures up Sophiatown as a TV show set behind a TV show, with a murder mystery in two time periods.

Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is going both high-brow and old school with its latest telenovela The Road starting tonight at 19:30 - a love story set against the backdrop of iconic Sophiatown filled with murder, mystery, politics and music.

"We hope our viewers will enjoy the authentic, sweeping love story set through an famous era's glamour and music," says Nkateko Mabaso, the M-Net director for local interest channels.

The Road with its high-brow concept hopes to capture the same success with audiences as Mzansi Magic did with Isibaya, although the intricate tale might be too difficult for some viewers.

The Road is set in two time periods - both the present and olden days Sophiatown - together with a murder mystery. Then there's the somewhat mind-bending aspect of the real-life actors playing characters in the story who are actors. These "actors" play characters in a Sophiatown setting, when a murder occurs.

Production company The Bomb Shelter describes it as "the beautiful singer Stella and talented writer Themba are star-crossed lovers longing to be together, but only destiny will tell if they end up in each other's arms".

"A heavyweight TV producer eager to tell and capture the touching story takes on the challenge, leading to spell-bound actions he couldn't have predicted".

The reality however is that the story is much more intricate that this, and it remains to be seen whether viewers will stick around for the viewing that requires some effort and concentration amidst the lavish beauty of 1950's recreated Sophiatown.

"This is a major milestone for us," says Nkateko Mabaso. "The Road marks our fourth venture into the genre and we've gone all out to create a high-quality, compelling drama for our audiences."

"We want them to feel immersed in the emotions of the characters and the demands of their worlds. The aim is to make a visually stunning, storyline-driven drama that will keep viewers enticed."

The Road will try to infuse and pay tribute to the sounds of the 50's and some of its greatest musicians into the story - and to then contrast that to modern-day Johannesburg.

The Road stars former Isidingo alum Darlington Michaels who has vowed to never return to the SABC3 soap saying he was badly treated and viewers can forget about "ever seeing me on Isidingo again".

Other The Road actors include Muzi MthabelaNandi Ngoma, Tsholofelo Maseko, Moneoa Moshesh, Solomon Sebothoma, Sithembiso Khoza, Gail Mabalane, Neo Ntlatleng and Sthandiwe Kgoroge.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

M-Net's investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche, turns 27 years old today with a special 90 minute programme.

Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101), the pay-TV broadcaster's long-running weekly investigative magazine show turns 27 years old today - a veritable dinosaur in television years, but not a timid Stego, rather a roaring T-Rex.

The Combined Artistic Productions show in its entrenched 19:00 timeslot on Sunday nights will tonight run until 20:30, a half hour longer with the Sunday night movie that will start at 20:30 instead of 20:00.

Tonight the actuality show will investigate why the South African government's ambitious nuclear building programme is shrouded in secrecy.

Carte Blanche also has a shocking expose and exclusive footage of a zama-zama (illegal miners) army pillaging North West mines, as well as a story about the billionaire Sidney Frankel accused of paedophilia. His alleged victims speak out - one publicly for the first time.

Carte Blanche also looks at why the office photocopying machine has become a serious cyber security threat and what the term "revenge porn" means.

Special Assignment on SABC3 at 20:30 looks at hate crimes committed against gay people and the violence and brutality experienced by lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and intersex people, in an insert produced by Lindile Mpanza.

The episode examimes the problem of hate crimes in South Africa and asks what can be done to ensure that the victims of these hate crimes get justice.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

M-Net's Idols judge and MetroFM DJ Unathi Msengana now 'sorry'; suspended after disgusting filthy-mouthed Twitter outburst.

Damaging her own image and standing as well as that of the SABC, M-Net, Idols and MetroFM, Unathi Msengana who has been suspended by the SABC, is now saying "sorry" for her vulgar outburst on social media.

Unathi Msengana whose filth and hate riddled tirade against a 19-year old went public and will live online forever and might one day be embarrassing to her kids, now "wish to publicly apologise" for her choice of language.

"In what I have come to realise was a bad attempt to defend myself, I reacted by engaging directly with a Twitter follower. However, as upset as I was at that time, I should not have used offensive language," says Unathi Msengana in her statement. 

The MetroFM DJ and Idols judge previously considered the "nice" one despite some previous flare-ups and bad language, has now largely dented her positive role model image permanently.

The "rude" Unathi Msengana was for instance suspended in October 2013 by MetroFM after "unsavoury" comments, and with listeners complaining about her rude and sarcastic on-air behaviour.

The latest damaging self-inflicted reputation damage started when Unathi Msengana - who was suspended on Wednesday by the SABC - blasted a 19-year old MetroFM listener and Wits student, Palomino Jama, on Twitter who had different views.

It followed after a discussion of the documentary "Luister" about allegations of rampant racism at the University of Stellenbosch faced by black students.

Disgusting filth-riddled Twitter messages from Unathi Msengana to Jama like contained shocking languages like:

"Do you think insulting me, my marriage and my sexuality is going to change your situation? You're a f***ing idiot if so… you’re f***ing delusional if you think you can get personal. F*** your stupid mind. No amount is going to change our realities."

"You psycho b***h. F*** you twice over."

It prompted the SABC to suspend the mother - who hopefully isn't using that language with her own kids and calling them "psycho b***h" when they're not listening.

"Unathi Msengana has been taken off air because there are issues with what happened on her Twitter account after her show," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

The SABC will "engage" Unathi Msengana over her actions.

In a statement M-Net says "M-Net has engaged with Unathi Msengana extensively regarding her recent use of offensive language" but is not removing her as a Idols judge - for now.

"In light of the fact that Unathi Msengana has expressed her remorse over the incident, she will continue in her role as Idols SA judge. M-Net wishes to reiterate that it does not condone the use of offensive language and will take more serious action should such an incident occur again".

BREAKING. Egypt sentences Al Jazeera journalists to 3 years in prison for operating without a press licence and not being 'registered' journalists.

In a retrial, an Egyptian judge this morning in Cairo sentenced 3 journalists who worked for Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) to 3 years in court because they were operating without a press licence and were not "registered" as journalists in Egypt.

Interestingly, the SABC's controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in South Africa is advocating for the same "rules" for media and journalists in South Africa, wanting journalists to be "regulated" and registered.

At the conclusion of the retrial this morning, journalists Mohamed Fahmy from Canada and Baher Mohamed from Egypt were immediately taken into custody.

Australian journalist Peter Greste who was released and deported at the beginning of February this year, was convicted and sentenced by judge Hassan Farid in absentia in the farcical trial.

In the harsh judgment, judge Hassan Farid said that Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were not journalists because they were operating without a press licence and were never "registered" to practice journalism or to be journalists in Egypt.

Both were sentenced to more time in prison because judge Hassan Farid said they were not journalists.

Al Jazeera said the TV news channel is "sickened" by the "disgusting" conviction of its journalists.

Giles Trendle, Al Jazeera's acting managing director for Al Jazeera English appeared on the channel on Saturday morning, saying he is "shocked, sickened, appalled at today's verdict".

"They were arrested on false charges, they've been convicted without a shred of evidence, they were imprisoned for over a year. And now they're going back to prison. It's disgraceful, it's disgusting. We are shocked," said Giles Trendle.

"The safety and well-being of our staff is of paramount importance," said Giles Trendle.

"The judge said one of the reasons they were there [in prison] is because they were not members of the Egyptian journalists' syndicate. Well, obviously foreign journalists ... the syndicate is for Egyptian journalists," said Giles Trendle.

The three journalists were arrested in December 2013 after a raid on the Marriott Hotel in Cairo and sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison in 2014. International pressure forced a retrial.

This is the second trial in Egypt in the two trials that both had several postponements. The journalists will continue with yet another retrial - the last one allowed.

"Today's verdict defies logic and common sense," says dr. Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera's acting director-general in a statement issued on Saturday.

"Al Jazeera will continue to call for their freedom and an end to the ordeal for Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy and the six Al Jazeera staff who were sentenced in absentia."

"The support shown for Baher MohamedPeter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy has been loud and unified and has come from every corner of the world, from world leaders, journalists, human rights organisations and the general public."

"Al Jazeera calls on everyone to continue to fight for the freedom of speech, for the right of people to be informed and for the right of journalists around the world to be able to do their job," says dr. Mostefa Souag.

"We will not rest until Baher MohamedPeter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy and the six Al Jazeera staff sentenced in absentia are freed and formally and definitely acquitted from the trumped up charges against them."

Mohamed Fahmy has since distances himself from Al Jazeera and blasted the Qatar based 24-hour TV news channel, and accusing Al Jazeera of blatantly placing his life and the lives of his colleagues in grave danger, lying about Al Jazeera's lega status in Egypt.

Mohamed Fahmy who is also suing Al Jazeera for damages in a Candian court, also slammed Al Jazeera for displaying editorial bias in favour of Islamists.

Reporters Without Borders says it "reiterates its call for the acquittal of Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste".

"We urge the Egyptian authorities to terminate the trial by dismissing all charges against the journalists. This judicial sham must end with everyone being acquitted," says Christopher Deloire, secretary-general of  Reporters Without Borders.

With at least 15 journalists detained in connection with their work, Egypt is the world's fourth biggest prison for media personnel (after China, Eritrea and Iran) and is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

SABC admits clandestine 'security' operations going on as 'standard procedure' inside SABC offices; fearful SABC staff scared their offices are bugged.

The SABC now admits that a "security audit" has taken place inside the SABC's offices, done by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) inside the public broadcaster's Durban offices to "ensure that there's no threat to the efficient operations of the broadcaster".

The nationa security secret invasion and the secret investigation conducted inside the SABC, with SABC permission, and not made known beforehand or during the audit by the SABC to SABC staff, is allegedly to "ensure the security of various state-owned entities in compliance with the National Key Point requirements," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kgangayo.

Interestingly, the SABC used to be a public broadcaster according to the Broadcasting Act, belonging not to the state but to the people of South Africa as defined under the South African Constitution.

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) calles the State Security Agency's (SSA) spying inside the SABC "outrageous".

"We at Sanef believe an investigation should be conducted by higher authorities," says Sanef deputy media freedom chairperson, Raymond Louw.  "What the SSA had done was a violation of constitutional freedom and outreageous".

The State Security Agency (SSA) says SABC staff should be asking the SABC CEO why the investigation is happening since the SSA worked inside the SABC on request of the SABC.

"The SABC needs to explain to its staff what is happening," says Brian Dube, State Security Agency spokesperson. "The allegations emanated from the staff".

Brian Dube says "the SABC CEO must deal with the questions" and that "government departments and public entities invited the agency to assist with various activities".

Trade union Bemawu's president Hannes du Buisson blasted the SABC earlier this week, writing to new SABC CEO Frans Matlala demanding explanations for the secret spying going on inside the SABC, and saying that SABC workers were ordered to keep quiet, that the investigation and presence of spies damage and comprises what's left of the SABC's integrity, and asking why the secret operation has not been communicated by the SABC to the SABC's own staff.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago called the secret investigation "standard procedure" done to "constantly identify threats towards acts of terror, espionage and other related risks".

Kaizer Kganyago said "The SABC would like to put it on record that this process is not in any way a move to undermind the corporation's business units, instill fear among staff members or invade their privacy."

Sadly, shockingly, this is exactly what has happened through this process: SABC workers are scared, suspicious, have been deliberately kept in the dark, are wondering what's going on, have not been communicated with, don't feel valued and trusted and are fearing what's going on.

SABC staff and managers are extremely concerned that their offices are bugged.

Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson asked SABC CEO Frans Matlala for "urgent intervention" and an explanation as well as that "this secret operation be stopped".

"We also want an explanation as to why the National Intelligence Agency finds it necessary to put employees out of their offices, invading their privacy and work space, where they spent the majority of the day and a substantial time of their lives."

SABC workers are fearful and scared and worried about the lack of transparency from the public broadcaster.

"Employees are extremely uncomfortable with what is happening, as they are not sure whether secret surveillance equipment is installed in their offices, and if so, why this is happening and necessary," says Hannes du Buisson.

"We do not see any reason for the NIA to lock employees out of their offices, remaining inside alone. The SABC is a workplace, not a law enforcement agency or some secret organisation where NIA agents have free reign."

Political party COPE says in a statement "under Hlaudi Motsoeneng [SABC COO] and Faith Muthambi [South Africa's minister of communications] the public broadcaster will soon become the ABCBC".

"In a vibrant democracy, all self-respecting democrats will take offence if the NIA were to walk into provincial offices of the public broadcaster, which belongs to all of us, and throw out employees from their offices to make secret searches. Furthermore, they would be revolted if the staff were threatened with dismissal if they dared disclose what was happening," says Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson.

"This is how, by little steps, tyranny overthrows democracy."

"The NIA's business is to protect the state, not to harass journalists and media workers. They are not the enemy of the state. Every South African should recognise that this is an insidious operation by the NIA."

"COPE wants an explanation from Faith Muthambi. Was this what 'Baba' had wanted her to do and is that why she gladly obliged? Is this what we can expect under her as minister of communication? Or was this instigated by Hlaudi Motsoeneng with her blessing?"

"COPE demands that Faith Muthambi explains to the nation what the NIA was doing at the SABC offices in Durban and why the staff there was treated so contemptuously and aggressively."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BREAKING. The Shores returns for a 2nd season! Clifton Shores - retitled - is back with a new cast and this time you can watch it online from 16 September.

You're reading it here first.

I can exclusively reveal that The Shores, now retitled from Clifton Shores, is back, with a second season of the Quinton van der Burgh reality show set in sun-drenched Cape Town, set to start on 16 September - but now rolling out online with an episode per week.

Viewers can get ready for more bikini babes, mansions, bling and fights as the reality cameras follow the socialites, models, friends and business people converging around mining magnate and billionaire Quinton van der Burgh.

The second season follows three years the debut of Clifton Shores which was picked up by M-Net's VUZU in the latter part of 2012 and following the cat fights, conflict and love lives of a gaggle of American girls working in Cape Town and across South Africa for the mogul's Quintessential events company.

The Shores will start on 16 September with 13 episodes which will be released online on the reality show's website at and although it won't be initially, might even make it to local video-on-demand (VOD) services like the Times Media Group's VIDI and Naspers' new ShowMax.

One episode of The Shores per week will become available on the site as well as on The Shores' website channel at TheShoresTV, I'm told.

The second season of The Shores is flush with expensive champagne, glamorous parties and sun-soaked yachts as the well-heeled shows that they are, after all, human too.

A constant stream of drama follows Quinton van der Burgh and the collection of characters around him in the fast-paced, success-driven environment as the A-list parties at swanky events and top clubs while having to complete work events and assignments riddled with unexpected challenges and drama.

According to insiders, this time around there's more South African personalities featuring in The Shores, with just one American.

"Also this time around Quinton and his guy friends become more of the focus of the new season, compared to the American girls of the first season," says a source.

"This show was shot with the intention of reaching a global audience and we're planning to air the show online to expand it's presence internationally, rather than only airing it in South Africa," says Quinton.

"We promise to deliver more drama, entertainment and gripping reality TV than ever before."

The new cast of characters include the opinionated full-time model and blogger, Jade; the Capetonian surfer, and male model Jamie; Courtney Cousins who is a Cape Town based fashion designer; Ryan, the "sexy bad boy" and Muay Thai fighter who usually gets what he wants; and Michaela, a business woman from Las Vegas who works as Quinton's personal assistant but has her fair share of relationship drama.

The blonde Kerry from Cape Town is also a model; Justin is Quinton's trainer and best friend; and Christina is a part-time model and socialite (and registered private pilot) in for a lot of heartbreak during this season.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is spying on SABC staff, says SABC trade union Bemawu, demands that SABC CEO Frans Matlala explains why.

South Africa's National Intelligence Angecy (NIA) is spying on SABC staff and the public broadcaster says the SABC trade union Bemawu who wrote to the SABC's new CEO Frans Matlala asking what is going on.

Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) wrote to Frans Matlala on Tuesday saying the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has "instructed SABC employees to leave their offices while operators spent between 2 and 3 hours per office for a purpose unknown to the employees".

This allegedly happened and is happening at the SABC's offices in Durban.

"We have furthermore been informed that employees were instructed to keep quiet about this and were threatened with action should they tell anybody."

Fearful SABC staff are "not sure whether secret surveillance equipment was installed in their offices, and if so, why is this happening and necessary?"

"We do not see any reason for the National Intelligence Agency to lock employees out of their offices, remaining inside alone."

"The SABC is a workplace, not a law enforcement agency or some secret organisation where NIA agents have free rein," Hannes dui Buisson wrote to Frans Matlala.

"For a state agency to act in this manner at a public broadcaster is of serious concern… such action seriously compromises what is left of the SABC's integrity."

Bemawu demands that Frans Matlala as the SABC CEO explains what is going on at the public broadcaster.

"We request your urgent intervention, assistance and explanation. We request that this secret operation be stopped and the purpose and intent be communicated to staff."

"We also want an explanation as to why the National Intelligence Agency finds it necessary to put employees out of their offices, invading their privacy and work space, where they spent the majority of the day and a substantial time of their lives."