Thursday, February 28, 2013

SABC channel head changes at the South African public broadcaster's television division: who is now where, doing what exactly.

You're reading it here first. 

Channel head changes at the Television division of South Africa's public broadcaster is once again creating sweeping new management dynamics within the TV section of the SABC as executive musical chairs shuffling continues.

All three of the SABC's TV channels have acting channel heads.

Verona Duwarkah remains the group executive for television at the SABC.

Leo Manne formerly the channel head of SABC1, is now the general manager for television channels at the SABC. This position under Verona Duwarkah is the executive management post tasked to look directly after, and oversee, the trifecta of the public broadcasters three TV channels - SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.

At SABC1 (with Leo Manne vacating that position) Sam Mpherwane, previously the acting programming manager, is now the new acting SABC1 channel head.

At SABC2 Pulane Tshabalala is the acting channel head.

At SABC3 Lefa Afrika, previously the programming manager, is now the new acting SABC3 channel head. TV with Thinus broke that news earlier this month when Ed Worster, the acting SABC3 channel head suddenly and unexpectedly left with early retirement.

What is means: Essentially SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 kicks off 2013 with new and acting channel heads, as well as a new general manager for television at the SABC overseeing all three channels. It's a huge change for the SABC's television division as a whole which is supposed to stabilise and solidify.

It also begs the question as to why the SABC remains completely unable to find and appoint permanent channel heads for its TV channels despite having had years now to do that. There's also not any new blood coming in from the outside and infusing the struggling broadcaster with new talent, new vision and new impetus from South Africa's wider television industry.

Once again the SABC rolls over a new year and start a new financial year with brand-new acting television channel heads.

The SABC as a television broadcaster can do better television, and deliver a better public broadcasting service if it can solidify and settle its executive ranks. Not only does it reflect better on the broadcaster, it also helps South Africa's wider television industry and TV community with knowing who to deal with (and who they're dealing with).

The constantly, almost yearly, and unexpected and ongoing shuffling and turnover at the top executive ranks within television at the SABC is not condusive to the service, quality, perception of dependability and image of the SABC's Television division.

Establish your princes for your provinces, and settle down so the hard-working peasants from the TV industry making the stuff you broadcast, not only know where to bring their labour to, but whose name to call at the gate.