Thursday, May 7, 2015

SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng admits: 'We were wrong'. Public broadcaster's COO says SABC needs more dramas, soaps in other languages.

The SABC's beleaguered and highly controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng now admits that the SABC was wrong regarding some of the public broadcaster's language and news decisions and says the SABC needs more content in Afrikaans and other languages.

The public broadcaster's famously matricless COO is mired in a lengthy and costly legal battle after the Western Cape High Court twice ordered the SABC to suspend Hlaudi Motsoeneng immediately and for the public broadcaster to start a disciplinary hearing against him.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Netwerk24 that the SABC has made mistakes regarding Afrikaans news and content and that the broadcaster now wants more Afrikaans content as well as content in other languages.

"There was a concern about the SABC; how we dealt with Afrikaans news. And we had to listen to those concerns from our audience. We were able to apply our minds. And accept that we were wrong," Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Netwerk24.

"Anyone who is pitching - they are welcome. We need more dramas, soapies at the SABC. I'm referring to Afrikaans and other languages within the organisation. We need to cater to everyone," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Two weeks ago the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi expressed concern about the SABC's flat audience share of 53%. She told parliament that she's concerned that the SABC's audience share remains stagnant.

Faith Muthambi warned the SABC that the troubled public broadcaster will have to find new ways to grow its audience beyond this number.

Earlier this week Hlaudi Motsoeneng told The Citizen that the SABC "needs more whites" and that the public broadcaster requires more white people - specifically at executive level - and that he doesn't want to see an SABC "that is too black".

"I have engaged colleagues saying we also need to employ white people. And I want to be specific: white people at exco level. I don't want to see an SABC that is too black".

"White or black, or if there are green people, after 20 years [of transformation] you can't talk about transformation, that is my belief," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.