DStv CULLS DISCOVERY'S ANIMAL PLANET

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Former suspended SABC TV boss Leo Manne resurfaces at Trace as the TV group's new senior vice president for Southern Africa.


The former and suspended SABC TV boss Leo Manne who resigned last month at the public broadcaster, has suddenly resurfaced at Trace where he has just been appointed in a new position to look after the TV entertainment group's Southern Africa region.

Leo Manne is the newly appointed senior vice president for the Southern African region for Trace which runs TV channels like Trace Sport Stars (DStv 188) and Trace Urban (DStv 325) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Leo Manne left the SABC under a cloud at the end of April after he resigned, following a protracted 7 months suspension and investigation since the end of September last year for a possible disciplinary hearing.

Leo Manne, previously the longtime SABC1 channel head who was then promoted to general manager for TV channels over SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 at the SABC, was suspended by the SABC on 25 September 2014, "pending investigations".

The suspension followed over allegations that he was listed as a director of Siyaya TV, one of the new pay-TV operators who received a licence in 2014 from the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to start a new subscription television service.

Siyaya Free to Air TV will be a new competitor for not just MultiChoice's DStv, On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat and Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) but also terrestrial broadcasters like the SABC and e.tv.

Siyaya Free to Air TV for instance snagged the exclusive TV broadcasting and radio rights to Bafana Bafana games last year in a 6-year deal reportedly worth more than R1 billion, taking it away from the SABC which used to have it and show these soccer games on SABC1.

After months of being suspended, Leo Manne took his case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), demanding to be reinstated as the general manager for TV channels at the SABC.

In April however, the CCMA ruled in favour of the SABC. The CCMA says "in the matter between the SABC and Leonard Moeranne Manne an arbitration award was issued on 21 April 2015 with the arbitrator ruling in favour of the employer of the employer".

Leo Manne tendered his official resignation from his SABC position after the CCMA ruling, which also brought to an end to the SABC's investigation which dragged along.

Trace has now hired Leo Manne, saying in a statement he will now oversee all broadcast media related operations within the Southern Africa region as Trace's new senior vice president after he's meandered through South Africa's media industry.

"I have always embraced any opportunity in my career that has allowed me to work with and create great media brands, especially in the context of a rapidly changing television and entertainment environment," says Leo Manne.

Leo Manne says he is looking forward to delivering "compelling and engaging localised content" for Trace.

"Leo Manne's specialised skills in broadcast media will prove to be a valuable asset to Trace moving forward and we welcome his unquestionable talents," says Olivier Laouchez, Trace CEO.