Monday, July 7, 2014

Parliament blasts SABC: 'Everything at the SABC remains a permament drama, like a drama that comes on the SABC at 8 o' clock every night'.

Parliament on Friday blasted the SABC as furious members of parliament's portfolio committee on communications took turns to lash out at the South African public broadcaster.

Even the new minister of communications, as well as the portfolio committee's chairperson didn't hold back - respectively describing the SABC as "plagued by a myriad of problems" and that "the SABC remains dysfunctional", as well as saying that "there's a dark cloud hanging over the SABC".

A lot of their outrage was directed at the SABC's controversial and famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng (pictured above).

The member of parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi from the EFF party, said that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng, that the Public Protector's report has had to speak about - which we are waiting to hear when is he getting fired - wakes up in the morning and says that we must license journalists. Running an institution that is supposed to be engaged in journalism, that is supposed to be reporting the news".

"He's supposed to be the number one defender of the SABC of the freedom of expression, of the freedom of the media".

"I find it very hard that we can entrust the SABC to walk out of the crisis it's been in since 2007 when the SABC leadership doesn't take these issues seriously. When is Hlaudi Motsoeneng getting fired? When?" asked Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"Everything at the SABC remains a permanent drama, like a drama that comes on the SABC at 8 o' clock every night".

"Get leadership stability, improvement of TV channels. The most important questions that will restore legitimacy for the public is to respond to the leadership questions and the Public Protector's report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng," said Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"What is preventing the SABC from suspending Hlaudi Motsoeneng? Surely he cannot continue at this organisation?" asked Gavin Davis, from the DA political party.

"The SABC remains in a perpetual crisis, it's losing market share, it's losing audiences, it's losing money from advertisers going elsewhere. There's needs to be an injection of talent to make the SABC a viable institution," said Marian Shinn, from the DA political party.

"Your own SABC commissioned marketing research shows that your losing market share and credibility, particularly with SABC News. No-one trusts the SABC news".

"The SABC is looking for customers of the SABC's archives. Well, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, last year you gave away the SABC archives to MultiChoice. They have the rights to your archives - not part of it, all of it. The contract says 'the archive'. So what on earth have you got left to sell to anybody else?"

"Last year I asked who is going to pay for the digitisation of the SABC archive materialso that MultiChoice could use it to launch their 24-hour SABC entertainment channel."

"The answer came back that the money - just over R300 for the entertainment side of the MultiChoice SABC deal would be used to digitise the material. Is that being done? Why has the SABC entertainment TV channel not gone live? It should have gone live in November 2013 and there's no sign of it," said Marian Shinn.

Joyce Moloi-Moropa, chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications said: "There is a dark cloud hanging over the SABC. Everytime everyone talks SABC that cloud hangs on top there. It is upon the SABC itself to clear that cloud".

"If the SABC doesn't take it upon itself to remove that cloud, surely it will remain a cloud that will be permanently over it. We do need a very credible SABC in the country. We appeal to the SABC to undergo a self-cleansing process whereby it becomes credible".

Faith Muthambi, South Africa's new minister of communications said "the SABC has been plagued by a myriad of problems in the past and currently" and that "the SABC remains dysfunctional and requires urgent attention from me".