The SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has decided to give 180 local musicians R50 000 each – a whopping R9 million in total as a "token of appreciation" from the cash-strapped public broadcaster – and announced that the SABC will start a music TV channel as well as a new programme dedicated to poems.
The SABC announced that it's awarding R50 000 to music legends in a special live SABC2 broadcast carried on the broadcaster's Morning Live programme as musicians lavished praised on the SABC's controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Besides the R9 million cash gift, Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the SABC will start a music TV channel and will also do a programme about poems to showcase the work of poets.
The special payout to South Africans musicians comes after Hlaudi Motsoeneng in May announced a new diktat of 90% needletime for local music on the SABC;s 18 radio stations that had to be implemented immediately.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "financially, SABC is sustainable. We are going forward. We are going to pay our artists and other people doing business with the SABC".
During the event held at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "what is important in life is my conscious [sic]. My conscious is telling me even if I can stay alone, but I will stand for what I believe alone, even if South Africa can change. That is what I am going to do".
James Aguma, the SABC's acting CEO said that "to do good you don't need to ask anybody for permission. This money is just a token to the legends who have contributed to the music industry."
"Jesus was born, he came to Egypt. Moses was from Egypt. So Africans shouldn't be afraid of being Africans. So we are going to push the African agenda whatever the detractors say," said James Aguma.
The minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, who also sat on stage and attended the event, said she wants the SABC to do a music documentary. "I want the SABC to produce a documentary that each and every one of you, even when you are gone, South Africa must know we once had icons like yourself."
Hlaudi: New SABC music channel
At the event, Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced that the SABC will also be starting a brand-new SABC TV channel for music.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng's music channel announcement comes after his April announcement that the SABC, will be starting 4 new "language-based TV channels soon at a cost of R1 billion, as part of the public broadcaster's digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering.
The four new channels – and now the music TV channel – will be created besides the existing SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and the SABC News and SABC Encore channels produced for MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform.
"We as SABC, we are going to have a dedicated channel, a TV channel, for musicians," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
'Young ones' not producing quality music
At the event Hlaudi Motsoeneng said young South African artists are not producing enough quality music like the South African music "legends".
"When you go to location, even today, music is quality. The challenge is the young ones," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
"The young ones, they need to produce more quality music. Music that is more sustainable," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "After 20 years, after 30 years, after 100 years – music is music. Music will stay. So it is important that we produce quality music."
"If you read the newspapers today or tomorrow, you are going to find that they are talking about SABC, about many issues. Ignore them. Because they have agenda. And their agenda is to defeat the good move that we have taken within the SABC," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
"We are aware that they are saying today, because now black people are going to benefit, SABC is not sustainable."
Programme for poems
Hlaudi Motsoeneng also promised a programme to showcase poems on the SABC. "We as SABC, we will make sure that there is a programme that deals with poems, and the books."
The loss-making SABC that recorded a financial loss of R395 million last year will announce its latest financial report next month in parliament and will likely again show a loss of hundreds of millions of rand.
In mid-July the SABC placed its treasurer, Arrie Thomas and chief financial controller Petra Campher on special leave after they warned that the SABC will be out of cash by November without intervention as the public broadcaster has been bleeding hundreds of millions of rand monthly.
The SABC's head of TV, Verona Duwarkah was fired and her contract not renewed, now replaced by Sully Motsweni.