SABC: THIRD OF OUTSIDE BROADCAST TRUCKS NOT USABLE

Monday, November 30, 2015

TV newsers Joy Summers from M-Net's Carte Blanche; Yusuf Omar and Philip Owira of eNCA win category prizes at Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.


Several TV newsers won prizes at the 2015 National Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards with accolades for eNCA (DStv 403), M-Net (DStv 101) and Carte Blanche.

Joy Summers won her second award in one year for the same story. M-Net's Carte Blanche investigative magazine show won for the story "Bobbroff's Fall from Grace" as the winner in the category for Best TV feature.

The same Carte Blanche insert won earlier this month at the Legal Journalist of the Year Awards.

The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards judges said the insert was "a victory for consumer journalism told very effectively through the medium of television. It demonstrates a thorough investigation into the legalities and finances of the complex process of personal injury claims and how they get abused".

Philip Owira from eNCA won in the category for Best TV news insert for "Rhodes has Fallen. The judges called it "a brilliant piece".

The overall Editor's Choice Award was given to eNCA's Yusuf Omar.

Yusuf Omar will join the Thomson Foundation in the United Kingdom for The Summer Convergence Course in August 2016 and will get one week's work experience at a British media organisation.

Avalanche of animation for the holidays as M-Net Movies Family goes with animation movies; DStv adds Turner's Hoolee as continent's first kids pop-up channel.


An avalanche of animation fun is coming to DStv subscribers with pay-TV broadcaster M-Net turning its M-Net Movies Family channel on DStv into an animation family movie channel from 4 December while the Hoolee channel kids channel starts on 1 December.

M-Net is turning the M-Net Movies Family (DStv 105) channel into an Animania channel from Friday, 4 December in a special animation movie festival that will continue until Friday 15 January 2016.

M-Net Movies Family will show animation movies all day long from Friday, including box office hits like Frozen, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, the Ice Age movies and Disney hits like Cars.

Although the M-Net Movies Family channel is only available to DStv Premium subscribers, some of the movies will be made available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up video-on-demand service which means that lower-tiered subscribers of the pay-TV service will also get access to it.

The Toy Story and Shrek films together with Despicable Me and James and the Giant Peach as well as many others will compete with Turner Broadcasting System's Hoolee channel starting on 1 December and running on DStv across Africa until the end of January 2016.

Hoolee (DStv 197) will be for DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers and MultiChoice Africa and Turner Broadcasting call it "the continent's very first pop-up children's channel".

MultiChoice and Turner Africa didn't release any programming schedule or programming line-up to the press ahead of the channel's launch on Tuesday but Turner Africa said Hoolee's programming will be "truly amazing".

Hoolee will show animation movies and animation shows, ranging from shows like Sonic the Hedgehog, Zig & Sharko and The Adventures of Puss in Boots, to the third season of Dragons set before the events of the How to Train your Dragon movies.

Films include Beethoven's Christmas Adventure, Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Power, Babe: Pig in the City, The Borrowers and Balto II: Wolf Quest!

Hoolee content will include shows from Turner and Warner Brothers productions as well as exclusive acquisitions.

China's Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit on Tuesday in Cape Town will be slight awkward as Naspers works with StarTimes competing with their own MultiChoice in pay-TV sector.


Tuesday in Cape Town with the first Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit ever to be held on African soil will undoubtedly carry a level of awkwardness bubbling under the surface although everybody involved will probably just smile and wave; smile and wave.

Tomorrow Cape Town will host the inaugural Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit, co-organised by South Africa's Naspers media conglomerate and China's StarTimes group.

The slight level of awkwardness that will permeate the gathering of hundreds of media types, dignitaries and media representative from across the African continent and from China originates from the subtext.

Naspers is onboard as co-organiser of the event given the media-conglom's massive interest and growing investment in China. The other co-organiser in StarTimes.

Naspers' own pay-TV ventures and brands are all in direct competition with China's StarTimes own fast-growing TV business in South Africa and across the African continent.

Naspers' M-Net, MultiChoice, GOtv and new subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) ShowMax in South Africa that is set to expand beyond the country's borders in 2016 are rivals to StarTimes across Africa and with StarTimes Media SA in South Africa running the StarSat satellite pay-TV service.

Thus while Naspers has its own pay-TV divisions in Africa, it is doing the Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit in South Africa in conjunction with its biggest competitor on the African continent.

More than 200 professionals and delegates from South Africa, from across Africa and from the People's Republic of China - 43 countries in total - will attend Tuesday's summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) with journalists, editors, marketers and ad buyers from newspapers, TV, radio and new media organisations attending.


The conference with the theme of "A New Era of Win-Win Cooperation between China and Africa" will discuss growing media exchanges between Africa and China as China steadily ramps up development investment and media spend across the continent.

China has become Africa's largest trading partner and has offered loans totaling $32 billion to African nations the past two years. Chinese investments are received with open arms especially in places where Western countries have not ventured, while China looks to solidify and expand its commercial foothold across the continent.

China invited representatives from a vast number of countries to South Africa for the summit - including often-overlooked African nations like Ethiopia, Benin, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Togo, Liberia, Comorin, Chad, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire and a dozen other African countries.

China and StarTimes want to strengthen media business relations with all of these countries.

StarTimes with more than 4 000 employees has already set up subsidiaries in 28 African countries and says in its Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit memo that it "enjoys profound capital strength and financing ability" and sees Africa's digital terrestrial television (DTT) and pay-TV market "as an important part of its long-term development strategy".

After Tuesday's media summit, the focus shifts to Johannesburg on Wednesday and Thursday where China is set to make some further investment announcements.

Tuesday's Naspers and StarTimes media summit is a precursor to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation taking place in Johannesburg on 3 and 4 December, with China's president Xi Jinping visiting South Africa after a two day visit to Zimbabwe.

M-Net facing class action case over alleged racial discrimination; pay-TV broadcaster says its Magic in Motion Film Academy is not breaking any laws.


M-Net is facing a class action complaint over alleged racial discrimination and excluding white students from its Magic in Motion Academy, while the pay-TV broadcaster says its rules are not breaking the law.

M-Net has become embroiled in a growing race row at the start of the second year of its Magic in Motion Academy (MiM Academy).

The MiM Academy started as a brand-new corporate social investment (CSI) initiative this year and has done terrific work in 2015 to expose South African film students, working as interns, to the South African television business by getting hands-on experience across a range of M-Net, kykNET and Mzansi Magic channels' productions.

The MiM Academy is overseen by the veteran producer and director Bobby Heaney as the academy's director.

M-Net is allegedly excluding white students from applying for one of the 20 internships for 2016 - up from 12 positions this year - saying that applications are "strictly EE (Employment Equity) qualifying candidates only – black, coloured and Indian". Applications close on 11 December.

Trade union Solidarity announced that it will now file a class complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) about what it says is "M-Net's discriminating Magic in Motion internship" programme.

"M-Net indicated that only black, coloured and Indian persons would be considered for an internship opportunity. This opportunity excludes all white persons," says Dirk Groenewald, the head of Solidarity's Centre for fair labour practices.

"Our complaint to the HRC is based on the prohibition by law of quotas and absolute limitations as well as the reservation of jobs."

"The explanation M-Net offered to Solidarity is unacceptable and serves as confirmation that they are excluding all white persons, and therefore, they are acting in breach of the law."

"It is totally unacceptable that M-Net supports and implements such discriminating practices. We will request the HRC to give its urgent attention to the matter and will also argue that M-Net should do away with those practices," says Dirk Groenewald. "We also have a social obligation to stand up against those racist practices".

In a statement M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle says M-Net is not breaking the law and that M-Net "rejects Solidary's claim that out internship programme does not comply with the Employment Equity Act".

Yolisa Phahle says M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy initiative is in line with the Employment Equity Act "which requires us to remove barriers to employment - which is exactly what Magic in Motion does".

"Magic in Motion is one of several interventions we are making to transform the sector, including significant investments in local content and the development of local film production companies."

"We will continue to play a role in building an electronic media sector which is truly representative of all South Africans," says Yolisa Phahle.

Friday, November 27, 2015

e.tv on MultiChoice's DStv finally upgraded to high definition quality; e.tv local weekday soaps Rhytm City and Scandal! added to DStv Catch Up.

Sabido's e.tv and MultiChoice have finally agreed to upgrade the South African free-to-air commercial TV channel's signal from SD to HD on the DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

e.tv also signed a deal with MultiChoice to add its daily local soaps, Rhythm City and Scandal! to the DStv Catch Up service from 1 December.

DStv Catch up already contains some of the SABC's weekday soaps like Generations and 7de Laan in a contract with the SABC, as well as kykNET's (DStv 144) Binnelanders and Villa Rosa.

e.tv is being broadcast in high definition (HD) from today on DStv.

e.tv upgraded its signal to HD in October 2013 and has been broadcasting the high definition version for the past two years on Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite platform.

While the HD version of e.tv was available the past two years, MultiChoice as well as On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa running the StarSat pay-TV satellite platform didn't switch to the better version for their respective subscribers.

There's been no announcement from MultiChoice but Monde Twala, e.tv channels managing director praised the upgrade deal, saying it will enrich DStv subscribers' viewing experience.

"All of our distinctive blend of authentic, compelling shows are filmed in HD. We are certain that his new development will give the channel a new edge and add value to our broad audience across all platforms".

In 2016 e.tv will roll out a new second "season" of the telenovela Ashes to Ashes and dramas Z'bondiwe and Umlilo have also been renewed for second seasons.

e.tv will also bring viewers a new local travel show Double Up, a new local action thriller Heist, and picked up the Jongo local superhero drama.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

History on DStv to broadcast the hour-long, rush-documentary, Terror: Seven Days in Paris this Sunday; follows the aftermath of recent Paris attacks for a week.


History (DStv 186) will broadcast a rush-documentary, Terror: Seven Days in Paris this Sunday at 20:30 about the recent terror attacks in Paris, France in which 130 people died.

The hour-long documentary produced by NBC Peacock Productions will be rebroadcast on History on Wednesday 2 December at 22:10.

"This special documentary puts the Paris attacks in a wider context," says Rachel Job, the director for programming for History at A+E Networks UK in London.

"With exclusive footage and first-hand accounts from the people of Paris, alongside expert opinion, we look at how recent acts of terror have changed the course of history."

Terror: Seven Days in Paris looks at the Paris massacre framed against growing international terrorism.

The documentary was quickly produced as two camera teams started doing interviews with witnesses, doctors, the owner of the Bataclan concert venue and various international terrorism experts immediately after the Paris attacks and continuing for seven days afterwards.

The documentary team also filmed the dawn siege by police – and its aftermath – in the Parisian quarter of St Denis on Wednesday, 18 November.

Terror: Seven Days in Paris recalls other major acts over recent years that have had a significant global impact, including 9/11 in New York and Pennsylvania; the Madrid bombings in 2004; 7/7 in London in 2005; the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015; the Russian plane brought down in Sinai; and the strikes in Beirut, which took place on 12 November 2015, the day before the Paris attacks.

People interviewed in Terror: Seven Days in Paris include Dr Christophe Pudhomme who treated survivors and suspected terrorists in the police shoot-out in St Denis; Dr Michel Bonnot; Raafiaa Benabid who was was making dinner for her family in her flat above La Carillon bar where seven people were killed; and Daniel Habrekon, the owner of the Bataclan concert venue where 89 people were murdered during a rock concert.

Educational channel [ED] on DStv will show Rehad Desai's Emmy award-winning documentary, Miners Shot Down, this Sunday 3 times during the day.


Miners Shot Down, the International Emmy award winning South Africa documentary of filmmaker Rehad Desai about the Marikana massacre by the South Africa police will be broadcast this Sunday 29 November on [ED] (DStv 190) on DStv in South Africa and across the African continent.

Ordinary South Africans haven't seen Miners Shot Down since the SABC and e.tv refused to shown Miners Shot Down on the public broadcaster and South Africa's only free-to-air commercial TV channel.

Miner Shot Down has been shown on [ED] before in 2014, as well as earlier this year on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

Miners Shot Down won the International Emmy Award on Sunday night in New York in the documentary category.

Yesterday e.tv and eNCA (DStv 403) condescendingly said it would broadcast Miners Shot Down but won't pay to show it and that it would broadcast the Emmy award winning documentary "if Rehad Desai drops us a free copy".

Miners Shot Down will be rebroadcast on [ED] this Sunday 29 November at 10:55, 14:55 and 18:55.

"It's an opportunity for South Africans to tune in to a documentary that has the whole world talking," says Roberto Carletti, [ED] station manager.

"As the first channel to air the documentary as far back as July 2014, we feel it's only fitting to repeat it. There's been growing viewer demand for the documentary in light of the recent success at the International Emmy Awards."

"Heeding these calls is in line with [ED]'s vision of empowering viewers through the dissemination of knowledge."

ShowMax set to expand outside of South Africa in 2016 to 3 other continents; Naspers' VoD service signs distribution deal with Samsung and Telkom


Naspers' new video-on-demand (VoD) service ShowMax plans to go global and to expand outside of South Africa soon in 2016 into at least three other continents, the business news wire service Bloomberg reports.

Asked about ShowMax's global expansion plans and roll-out, the VoD service that launched in August told TVwithThinus it had no comment.

According to Bloomberg, ShowMax will launch in North America, across territories in Europe and in Australasia in 2016.

According to Bloomberg, ShowMax will make its video streaming service accessible outside of South Africa from next month by giving access to Afrikaans content from December, and will add West African content in 2016.

Netflix plans to launch in South Africa sometime during 2016.

At the moment in South Africa, ShowMax, Times Media Group's struggling VIDI, MTN's FrontRow and China's PCCW Global that launched  ONTAPtv.com in September are all competing against each other as VOD service.

Naspers’s fledgling video-on-demand (VOD) platform, ShowMax, will be expanded to three new continents in the coming year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Samsung is meanwhile also silent about ShowMax's addition to its range of Smart TV's as an app.

ShowMax has signed distribution partnerships with Telkom and Samsung in South Africa and is also negotiating with Vodacom.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy embroiled in a race row; trade union Solidarity slams pay-TV broadcaster over exclusion of white students from internship positions.


M-Net and its Magic in Motion Academy has become embroiled in a row about race with trade union Solidary slamming M-Net, saying the South African pay-TV broadcaster is unfairly discriminating by allowing no white students to apply for academy internships.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy (MiM Academy) that started last year has been doing wonderful work with the veteran producer and director Bobby Heaney as the academy's director.

For its second year, M-Net is expanding the landmark internship programme from 12 to 20 positions to give film and TV graduates much-needed and in-depth practical experience as they work closely with some of South Africa's top producers and TV shows.

According to M-Net, applications for the film Academy that closes on 11 December are "strictly EE (Employment Equity) qualifying candidates only – black, coloured and Indian".

According to Dirk Groenewald, the head of Solidarity's Centre for Fair Labour Practices, M-Net's film academy doesn't comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act.

"It boils down to nothing but the total exclusion of white people and amounts to a quota system."

"The said legislation prohibits quota systems. Moreover, the courts, including the Constitutional Court, have already found that the use of a quota system as well as the exclusion of people based on the grounds of their skin colour is unlawful".

Dirk Groenewald says Solidarity asked M-Net to amend the Magic in Motion advertisement in order for whites to also be allowed to apply for the internships. Solidarity plans to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission if the MiM Academy requirement isn't changed.

Dirk Groenewald says it is allegedly not the first time that MultiChoice has reserved vacant posts for certain race groups only.

"Multichoice has already advertised a significant number of posts exclusively for specific race groups. It is clear that the race problem at MultiChoice is far more significant than initially thought."

Asked why M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy internship positions decided to exclude a certain race group, M-Net told TVwithThinus that the focus of the film academy is on previously disadvantaged communities.

"As the MiM Academy is one of M-Net's corporate social investment initiatives, the focus of the initiative is on previously disadvantaged communities".

"However, whilst it is targeted to a pre-determined demographic requirement in line with powerful national transformation objectives, there are also positions and development opportunities at M-Net that are open to a wider pool," says M-Net.

"In this way, M-Net is focused on maintaining its multi-cultural, diverse talent complement".

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

OPINION: The ugliest and most awful thing e.tv and eNCA have EVER said - and why even an Emmy winning filmmaker can't pay the rent with 'exposure'.


One of the ugliest and most disgusting things were publicly stated today in South Africa's television industry in a publicly released press statement.

And no, it surprisingly didn't come from the SABC's corporate affairs office, but from e.tv and eNCA (DStv 403).

Sabido's TV channels said it will will take an Emmy winner and a South African filmmaker's documentary and show it - but won't pay for it and only if these commercially-run channels can get it for free.

Well, "exposure" doesn't pay my rent and probably also not the salaries of the TV executives at e.tv and eNCA who I presume are not paid in bags of mealies either.

It's from eNCA and e.tv that condescendingly gloated and noted today that the Emmy winning filmmaker Rehad Desai is "welcome" to "drop off a copy at our studios" of his documentary film and that eNCA and e.tv would then "gladly" do so [broadcast it] "for free".

Disgusting.

Rehad Desai just won the 2015 International Emmy award for best documentary for his harrowing documentary film, Miners Shot Down.

I was writing about television long before e.tv became a TV station.

I was there from before and have covered it since it's little brother on MultiChoice's DStv started - the eNews Channel that transformed into eNCA and its ongoing journey. eAfrica. eNews Africa. OpenView HD.

I've seen them launch and grow and I've tracked them all meticulously since as I do all South African television.

While the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster stooped pretty low in the past with disgusting, erratic and downright crazy behaviour and said some very destructive and disturbing things, what e.tv and eNCA said on Tuesday ranks as my all time worst public remarks from these Sabido channels. Ever. 

And yes, that includes even HCI's Yunis Shaik and his notorious, alleged missive of " I work for a living sucking dick!"

Make no mistake about it: What e.tv and eNCA said is what they want the public to know.

They chose their words and specifically want people and South Africa's TV industry to know - hence a public statement - that they won't pay for Miners Shot Down but that yes, they will show it - just not pay for it.

On Tuesday there was no congratulations or positive remarks from e.tv and eNCA supporting someone who is working in, supporting, winning for South Africa on the world stage, and trying to earn a living while doing so and making that one thing that all TV channels and broadcasters hold most dear: TV content. 

Instead e.tv and eNCA decided to eviscerate Rehad Desai [who I've never met] and his Miners Shot Down documentary which has won numerous, numerous awards, saying in so many words that his documentary film is worthless.

We only pay for something that has value, right?

It was dirty, low ball and aggressive attack by e.tv and eNCA in my view on a filmmaker and a South African one at that who just won an International Emmy, one totally uncalled for and way below e.tv and eNCA's maturity level as people as as a business.

I get what e.tv and eNCA probably tried to do: Scared of growing negative sentiment, and with public pressure building over the circulation of a public petition calling for Miners Shot Down to be shown on the SABC and e.tv, my guess is that e.tv and eNCA wanted to distance themselves from appearing politically biased.

My guess is that e.tv and eNCA wanted to show that they're not not showing Miners Shot Down due to any political agenda, influence or leanings but purely because they don't want to and because during negotiations the price for the product - in this case an Emmy winning local documentary - was too steep.

Instead e.tv and eNCA now come across as just plainly disgusting and cheap - just like Mfundi Vundla of SABC1's Generations who can't fathom why actor's can't be cheaper and why they apparently don't come for free.

Every single person - yes, even those working in television - work for money. Apologies for stating the probably obvious, but apparently it's not so obvious to e.tv and eNCA.

"Exposure" doesn't pay your bills even if you work in media or the content generation or creative industries. 

The executives as well as the the corporate affairs and marketing and public relations people at e.tv and eNCA all know that very well, but on Tuesday they decided to throw Rehad Desai under the bus in a very big way - and by implication all of South Africa's local content producers.

I hate it, and I hate that e.tv and eNCA did that and in such a terrible, pathetic, thoughtless and dismissive manner.

Filmmakers and South African TV and film content producers deserve better and e.tv and eNCA should go to their own broadcasting eAcademy and get an education.

e.tv and eNCA deliberately chose to send a rotten, untrue and extremely wrong message to South Africa's TV and film industry: That there's instances where we as oh so mighty TV people who need content and work in the content business will "gladly" take your content and will show it ... if we don't have to pay for it.

Oh, and you should be glad because it's "exposure".

By the way, giving your content to a TV channel is what you should do according to them - meaning give it to them for free - should you, as e.tv and eNCA say in their statement to Rehad Desai "feel the film requires further exposure to a South African audience".

If I were Rehad Desai my gentle words to eNCA and e.tv would be ... "Go f* yourself".

Rehad Desai isn't a top 25 M-Net Idols contestant who doesn't know better and is singing for free to get "exposure".

Rehad Desai isn't a lowly job seeker entering the TV and film industry who have to work as an unpaid intern just to get desperately needed "experience" at some company to try and have something on the CV.

And Miners Shot Down definitely isn't Fanny By Gaslight and Walker, Texas Ranger and Backstage or Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and all the other trash TV that e.tv has shown over and over and over and over many times because poor viewers have apparently not yet seen it enough.

Yet e.tv and eNCA have the eye-rolling audacity to say they don't want to show Miners Shot Down because there's been "no aspect to the Marikana tragedy we have not covered" and that they've done enough Marikana massacre coverage.

Well. Let me educate: Eating is never done. Growing up is never done. Life is never done.

In television and in the news business, the wheel never stops turning.

There's always space and place on the schedule for showing more, for bringing more perspectives, for showing more sides.

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but I thought that's the business eNCA is in and wants to be in.

Among all of the repeats on the e.tv schedule yet another Marikana programme will not seem odd. And how about Platco Digital's OpenView HD and its channels?

If I worked in TV, I'd think that a documentary like Miners Shot Down would be a nice pick-up for one of my locally packaged TV channels that desperately need new content on the bouquet like eAfrica+ or eMovies+ or eKasi+ to make it stronger and stand out a bit and to strengthen their individual channel propositions.

Furthermore e.tv and eNCA know that documentaries like Miners Shot Down are distributed by local and international distributors.

How platitudinal to go in a disingenuous sounding press release that "his office is welcome to drop off a copy at our studios". It doesn't work that way.

How about saying "congratulations Rehad Desai for producing an outstanding and award-winning documentary, and with persevering with a difficult story you wanted to tell. Previously our content executives couldn't successfully negotiate a deal to show Miners Shot Down but we would love to sit down again with the relevant representatives to see if we can bring this important piece of television to our South African viewers".  

That is apparently too much and too high-brow difficult for e.tv and eNCA who opted to rather go with the trashy and decidedly downmarket "we therefore extend an invitation to him to accept our offer of a free broadcast". 

It is so hugely offensive to me.

There's also huge irony in the fact that eNCA that continues to struggle in adequately telling the press on a consistent basis about its actual programming and what it is going to show, is quick to put out a press release about what it won't show (unless it gets it for free).

Yes, Mahala on e wasn't just a show on e.tv - it's apparently e.tv's attitude when it comes to procuring content.

With the often trashy advertiser-funded productions (AFPs) that litter e.tv's schedule (Hi Edgars! Hi Pick n Pay! Hi FNB!) it's actually a surprise that e.tv and eNCA didn't ask Rehad Desai to pay them.

Uhuru Productions should probably be glad that e.tv will show Miners Shot Down just for free instead of asking a fee. Phew!

(Don't forget that e.tv and eNCA also cut loose and threw away Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola - another programme that also managed to win an International Emmy and rightly was and should be a jewel in the crown of any channel's programming line-up. Perhaps Diprente Productions should have offered LNN to eNCA and e.tv for free...)

I really don't understand why e.tv and eNCA had to be so hard and harsh and trying soo much to be dismissive and disparaging. It's our TV industry you as broadcasters are shamelessly asking to give you content for free.

e.tv and eNCA's press statement is as tone-deaf bad as the ANC spokesperson idiot on Monday who congratulated the Miners Shot Down "cast members" in a hollow statement filled with fake sentiment. (The documentary has no cast - only miners, police, killed miners and widows.)

Will e.tv and eNCA tell Steven Spielberg or George Lucas or Michael Moore that they will show one of their films for free? For the ... "exposure".

Dear e.tv and eNCA, go ask the WWE for their trashy wrestling content for free because its become too expensive. See what happens.

Yet sadly e.tv and eNCA have the audacity to publicly say and ask that of a South African documentary filmmaker. One whose work just got recognised internationally.

I often speak to TV and production executives off the record, often at the sidelines at TV events, and they always openly talk to me about what they might want, don't want, can't afford, just bought and are looking at. They also quite openly will say when certain shows or programming are bad and what they won't buy.

What I don't understand is why e.tv and eNCA had to come out and say publicly that they don't want something, but actually will want it if they can get it free.

Why publicly try and trash someone by deliberately saying you won't, and will show a locally made documentary but only if you can get it for free because the price previously was too expensive?

It's really low and unbecoming of TV brands like e.tv and eNCA.

And guess what e.tv and eNCA? Quality ain't cheap. Miners Shot Down is obviously quality, even if you want to make as if it's worth not paying for. It was judged by peers worldwide to be the best TV documentary in the world for this year. 

What e.tv and eNCA said today in their joint statement ( a statement issued without even a subject line) doesn't build and doesn't support South Africa's TV industry. It belittles it. And that's wrong.

The irony of course is that e.tv and eNCA are a part of this TV industry.

So they're throwing mud and meanwhile slinging some of it at themselves, getting themselves dirty trying to throw shade.

For every established and up-and-coming documentary maker and TV producer and someone with a dream to make TV content in South Africa, I want to say, don't give up. Keep pursuing your dream. 

Rightly expect and demand to get paid for your work and your blood and sweat and tears and time and creative and intellectual property. 

Don't give up what you make for free to others who don't care even if it really matters and should be seen - because what you do and earning and making a living out of it, matters too.

Even if broadcasters like e.tv or eNCA show disrespect and make as if you're a lowly intern who made a movie with a shaky Sony handheld, or tell you that what you ask is too much, please never lose the respect and dignity you have for yourself and what you create. 

Keep doing what you love. Persevere.

And always stand up for yourself - even when you're undermined and shot down by people who should know better.

BREAKING. e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 ONTAPtv.com have also added the documentary to their streaming catalogues.

With a growing petition circulation, calls have been growing for the SABC and e.tv to show the documentary in South Africa. While the SABC has been silent, e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv.

e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv, 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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 e.tv 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".