Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SHOCKER! Minister of communications Faith Muthambi tells parliament she wants the SABC's commercial strategy plans to be KEPT SECRET.

Although the SABC is a public broadcaster, the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, told parliament on Tuesday that she agrees with an earlier suggestion of the SABC to keep the South African Broadcasting Corporation's commercial strategy plan and its commercial financial record secret.

The SABC, struggling with years of governance and management issues, no longer wants to divulge its commercial strategic plans as the country's public broadcaster publicly, out of fear that rivals like MultiChoice's DStv, StarSat, pay-TV broadcaster M-Net, the commercial free-to-air broadcaster and others, get insight into its commercial information, strategies and plans.

Faith Muthambi agrees and asked parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday for "a special arrangement" in future around the SABC presenting and reporting its commercial strategies and commercial plan and reports so that the public broadcaster's commercial plans can remain confidential.

"When you read sections 91 A to B of the Broadcasting Act, it correctly defines that SABC consists of two separate divisions - a public services division, and a commercial services division," Faith Muthambi told parliament.

"In addition, section 2 of the Act stipulate that the public and commercial services division must be separately administered, and that a separate set of  financial records and accounts are to be kept in respect of each division."

"When it comes to the tabling of separate annual financial statements in compliance with the Act, we take note of the SABC's request to only make public the details of the public broadcasting division, fearing that competitors often have competitive advantage in knowing what and how the commercial strategy of the SABC will unfold," Faith Muthambi told parliament.

She admitted that "it will be extremely difficult to achieve what it [SABC] advocates for."

"We do not want to sound as thought we are going that way. Public broadcaster is reluctant to account. As this has the potential to create wrong perception about how SABC given its historical governance issues."

"However we would like to appeal to parliament that in future a special arraigment [sic] be made in the interim to accommodate the presentation of the commercial strategy of the SABC," said Faith Muthambi.  

After Faith Muthambi did her presentation, the SABC started its presentation to parliament saying, as stated by the minister it won't adhere to the obligations of the Broadcasting Act and won't present its commercial plans but only talk about its public broadcasting plans.