Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cassper Nyovest wins best video at Channel O Music Video Awards 2014; Boom Shaka receives Special Recognition Award as 'our 'first award ever'.

The Channel O Africa Music Video Awards 2014 on Channel O (DStv 320) broadcast live on Saturday night on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform across several countries across the African continent saw South Africa's Cassper Nyovest scoop 3 awards, including best music video of the year, while 90s South African kwaito group, Boom Shaka was honoured with their "first award ever".

Held at the Expo Centre for the 11th time, it has become evident how the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards has helped to elevate and improve the quality of music videos produced across the African continent - already much better and slicker produced than when the award ceremony was first held.

The Channel O Africa Music Video Awards 2014 itself has vastly improved, again executive produced as a made-for-TV special by Glenn van Loggerenberg and Don't Look Down TV, and a far cry from the amateur-looking, bungled and mistake-riddled telecasts of previous years.

Still in short supply after more than a decade however at the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards are female performers - both as nominees, winners and on-stage performers, with exclusively men who performed during the awards closer, although the ceremony has done away with the sexist, humiliating and excessive grinding and over-sexualised dance contortions of female back-up dancers which permeated the awards show in previous years.  

The theme for 2014 was a car and racing infused spectacle, with artists and performers driven on stage with a range of vehicles, and the stage created in the form of the Channel O logo and Siyabonga Ngwekazi and Eku Edewot as hosts.

Cassper Nyovest tied with Tanzania's Diamond who each scooped three awards. Cassper Nyovest won as most gifted male, most gifted Southern Africa music video and best music video, while Diamond won most gifted newcomer, most gifted Afro pop music video as well as most gifted East African music video.

"A thank you to everybody who let me squat at their houses when I started out with this dream," Cassper Nyovest said in his acceptance speech for best music video as the final award of the night.

"I used to stay at my friends' houses all the time. A shout-out to my parents for supporting me in my dream. My parents are teachers, and they allowed me to drop put of school to rap."

"A big shout-out to Jesus Christ. I really pray. I hope all the kids at home can see what prayer does. A shout-out to all the haters. And a shout-out to Channel O," said Cassper Nyovest.

The special recognition award went to Boom Shaka, the pioneering group that helped to shape the kwaito genre in the 90's.

In a quivering emotional voice Bucie and Busiswa took to the stage and joined the remaining group members Junior Sokhela, Theo Nhlengethwa and Thembi Seete to pay tribute to Lebo Mathosa, saying "thank you. Thank you. This is our first award ever".

"As Africans we have come a long way and I would like to thank those individuals who make a valuable contribution towards making the African music industry a masterpiece that we can all be proud of," says Nkateko Mabaso, Channel O director.

Friday, November 28, 2014

'I'd like to look in his face so he can see exactly what he's done to us': Carte Blanche on M-Net gets sit-down interview with June Steenkamp.

You're reading it here first. 

On Sunday night in Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) at 19:00 June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp who was shot and killed by Oscar Pistorius, will break her silence in an interview with Devi Sankaree Govender.- a mother's voice that all of South Africa has been waiting to hear.

"I don't feel anything, he [Oscar Pistorius] is not anything to me," June Steenkamp says to Devi Sankaree Govender. "I feel angry for what he's done to her. It is my child. I gave birth to her."

On Sunday night June Steenkamp takes Carte Blanche's Devi Sankaree Govender into her home after almost two years of media silence, sharing her most intimate thoughts about life without her daughter who was killed on 14 February, Valentines Day, last year by the paralympic "bladerunner" who is now behind bars.

Este de Klerk is the Carte Blanche producer of the big get, in an hour during which Carte Blanche will also has a revealing Eskom expose as South African households have been warned that they could be plunged into darkness and load shedding this weekend again.

I'm told getting and securing the interview with June Steenkamp took Carte Blanche two weeks to iron out the details, with the cameras which rolled this past Tuesday at June Steenkamp's home in Port Elizabeth.

Devi Sankaree Govender tells TV with Thinus "it felt surreal" to do the interview and to talk to June Steenkamp, following her months covering the trial as one of the anchors on MultiChoice's Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel on DStv.

"I read the book [June Steenkamp's book published by Jonathan Ball] with great interest and there were quite a few dots I needed to connect in my head," says Devi Sankaree Govender.

Seated in her lounge with Devi Sankaree Govender, with a large canvas featuring Reeva's face behind them, June Steenkamp reveals her true thoughts about the trial and what it was like for her to face the man who killed her daughter day after day in court and to finally reach a place where, as a Christian, she could forgive him.

"Sorry can never cover what he'd done," says June Steenkamp who will reveal that Oscar Pistorius "wanted to see us. He did try and make an appointment, but we weren't ready to face him".

"I think I'd like to look in his face so he can see exactly what he's done to us and he's taken away from us. I want to say to him: 'Here, I am the mother and you have taken everything from us."

On Sunday evening Carte Blanche viewers will see June Steenkamp talk about the "special connection" she still feels with Reeva following her death and she will also talk about her husband Barry Steenkamp and his struggle to confront the brutal way in which their daughter died.

June Steenkamp opens up to Carte Blanche about what it has been like being financially destitute and the decisions they made around finances.

"It can never get better, unless somebody can bring her back to life, it's never going to get better. You got to learn to live with it, to get on with you life," June Steenkamp tells Carte Blanche. "When I first saw him, I thought: this was the person who killed my daughter".

"And I think that I, in a way, unnerved him. And I liked that part of it. I wanted to be there for Reeva, so, to me it was good that I unnerved him."

She also reveals to Carte Blanche, and speaks openly and candidly to Devi Sankaree Govender, about appearing strong but inwardly dealing with "incredible pain" that she would not wish on anyone - and the way in which she knows that no amount of time will allow her and her husband to come to terms with what happened.

"I've forgiven him. As a Christian, you have to forgive. Otherwise you going to carry all this pain inside you, and this hatred and I am not like that," says June Steenkamp.

While Carte Blanche can't broadcast the full interview in its entirely, the full interview will be made available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service right after Sunday evening's Carte Blanche episode.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

BREAKING. SABC launching its own digital magazine, Evoke from Bespoke Media; launch issue features SABC1's 'new' Generations.

The SABC is launching its own, new digital consumer magazine, Evoke, which will be available to readers on the internet and on their smartphones and tablets.

The SABC's Evoke is the South African public broadcaster's first attempt at a secondary marketing and communication tool to speak directly to consumers and viewers since it started its self-published, monthly TV Talk magazine in 1997 which it used to mail by post to SABC TV licence holders and which was freely available at Shell petrol stations.

TV Talk which had a print run of 1.6 million copies was then canned by the SABC and abruptly stopped.

Evoke, published as a new digital magazine by Bespoke Media for the SABC, features actors Connie Ferguson and Rapulana Seiphemo on the cover of the first edition ahead of the "relaunch" of Generations which will start on Monday on SABC1.

For the first issue of Evoke, besides being available as a digimagazine, the SABC also had a limited run of hard copies of the actual magazine printed which the public broadcaster is distributing to advertisers and media buyers and the press.

"We've launched several new websites for our radio and TV brands with more to come," says Elouise Kelly, the SABC's head of marketing in the first issue of Evoke. which readers can download at Google's Play Store or read at

The frequency with which Evoke will be published it not yet known - monthly, quarterly, forthnightly or weekly.

"The launch of this publication aims to further expand our digital footprint, creating a single platform on which to entertain and share exciting information about the SABC and our house of media brands," says Elouise Kelly.

"Our hope is that this magazine becomes your not-so-guilty pleasure and first port of call for all things SABC. We remain committed to the future of media, advertising and broadcasting and hope you enjoy reading and interacting with Evoke magazine."

SABC appoints Jimi Mathews as new head of SABC News, ups Nothando Maseko as head of SABC TV News, Bessie Tugwana to run SABC Sport.

The SABC is making executive appointments, which are becoming effective from 1 December 2014, moving Jimi Mathews to head of SABC News and current affairs, making Nothando Maseko the head of SABC Television news, Sebolelo Ditlhakayane the head of SABC Radio news and Bessie Tugwana the head of SABC Sport.

Sully Motsweni is appointed as the head of SABC stakeholder relations and provinces.

Jimi Mathews has been acting in the position of group executive: news and current affairs and will now get the position permanently.

Bessie Tugwana has been acting in the position for a while, and is now getting to be the boss of SABC Sport permanently after having worked at the television side as an executive for year.

Nothando Maseko who is taking over as the head of SABC Television news has been the executive producer of SABC2's morning show, Morning Live. Nothando Maseko will be an "understudy" of Jimi Mathews until he leaves.

Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane as the new head of SABC Radio news was the SABC's regional editor in the Northern Cape.

SABC's lying chairwoman Ellen Zandile Tshabalala extends matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reign with SABC CEO duties until end of 2014.

The SABC's lying chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala has extended the South African public broadcaster's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reign as acting SABC CEO until the end of 2014.

"Authority is hereby given to the chief operations officer to undertake the duties and functions of the group chief executive officer (CEO) with effect from 22 November 2014 to 31 December 2014," says the letter Ellen Zandile Tshabalala signed.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says "Hlaudi Motsoeneng has not been appointed as the CEO".

"We are just following what the memorandum of incorporation says. It says that when the CEO is not available for one reason or the other the powers of the CEO are then delegated to the COO."

The highly controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been appointed as chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC earlier this year, a unilateral move by the SABC which is the crux of at least two pending court cases.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting CEO since the acting CEO Anton Heunis is ill.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala first appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting CEO of the SABC earlier this month for 9 days.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala lied about her qualifications to parliament in her CV - alleging to have a B.Com degree and a diploma in business management from Unisa which the university says she don't have because she failed some courses and dropped out and didn't complete some courses.

MultiChoice dumps euronews; TV news channel on DStv will be removed on 30 November after 6 years.

MultiChoice is dumping euronews (DStv 414) from the DStv, with the European rolling 24-hour TV news channel which will be removed from 30 November from the South African satellite pay-TV platform's channel line-up.

MultiChoice decided not to renew the euronews contract and isn't giving any reasons, although the removal likely has to do with low viewership figures.

Although knowing for longer than a month that euronews which has been on DStv for 6 years, MultiChoice is telling DStv subscribers and giving them only 5 days notice about the channel being removed from DStv.

TV news channels as a subset has much lower viewership as a genre than sport, general entertainment, movies and lifestyle TV channels.

Then within the news channel's subset, TV news channels on DStv channels like euronews, CNBC Africa (DStv 410), BBC World News (DStv 400) and Al Jazeera (DStv 406) are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to viewership and audience share.

"Although the euronews channel is no longer available in Southern Africa, DStv customers still have 16 news and commerce channels which cater for a variety of viewer tastes," says Aletta Alberts, the general manager of content for MultiChoice South Africa.

Last month, following reports that MultiChoice may look to cut TV channels from the existing DStv offering, MultiChoice said that "MultiChoice is not cutting back on channels on its DStv service".

MultiChoice said a month ago that "we constantly monitor and review the performance of the different channels on DStv as part of our ongoing drive to deliver the best entertainment to our customers. The recent launch of VUZU AMP and M-Net Edge is proof of that commitment".

euronews which was on DStv Premium was added to DStv Compact and DStv Family only in April last year.

Then euronews' Arnaud Verlhac, the deputy director for worldwide distribution at euronews still had effusive praise for MultiChoice, saying MultiChoice and euronews are "working closer and closer together".

"I am proud to announce this new proof of confidence by MultiChoice," he said last year when euronews' availability on DStv was increased in April 2013.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

BREAKING. Vincent Bones (30) wins Idols on M-Net's historic 10th season; 'the first thing I need is a house,' says formerly homeless winner.

In a resurgent season which lured 24,3 million votes Vincent Bones (30) from Pietermaritzburg won the popular vote when he was announced as the winner on Sunday night in the 10th season's live finale of Idols on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

The worship leader's touching back story - he managed to escape a life as a homeless street kid in Sunnyside, Pretoria which he became after the death of his mother and uncle - as well as his powerful soulful singing, proved an irresistible draw to viewers who week after week voted to keep him in the reality show competition.

"Sleeping in the streets is scary at first. It's a challenge you get used to," he said on Sunday night.

Luckily Vincent Bones was put into Boys Town, finished his schooling and changed his life. "I believe what I went through in life, is enough to carry my character," he said about entering Idols.

Vincent Bones who can play piano, drums, base and saxophone came to national viewer attention in the second season of the historic 10th Idols season - the first time he auditioned as a contestant for a TV show.

On Sunday night be triumphed in front of the crowd at Carnival City and viewers watching the live finale at home, garnering more votes than Bongi Silinda (24) from Nelspruit.

"The first thing I need is a house. That's one of the only things at the moment right now in my mind, so that I can get a stable place for my family."

"I was probably the most nervous person throughout the season," said Vincent Bones.

"The best thing I can say is to believe in yourself a little bit. If you know your talent, that will help you, because if you come to a show like Idols you need to make sure that you work on your confidence a little bit."

"I was terrified from the first day," he said. "After making it to the Top 16 I was a mess. It's a singing competition but you need to be a confident person as well."

Vincent Bones said he will not forget where he comes from. "I have people around me that constantly remind me who I am and where I come from. So for me, I feel safe because I've got those people that will always be there for me."

He wins a prize package of more than R800 000 which includes a recording contract with Universal Music Africa.

"For me it's a big moment. For me being the winner, it's going to sink in later. I didn't even believe I'm going to make it through the first audition."

"I came to Idols, I didn't necessarily have the confidence, but I had a plan in mind that I want to stay in the music industry. For me, from now on, I have to execute my plan. The plan that I have is to basically make good music. For me its music for the people, music that people enjoy," said Vincent Bones.

"The way that viewers are engaged with Idols, with the contestants, all the way through, is just unbelievable," said Victor Eckard, M-Net director. He said Idols kept breaking voting records week after week.

It happened because M-Net and Idols lowered the financial barriers for people to vote, enabling and allowing votes to be cast through new social media platforms as well as well as traditional methods.

It led to a massive voting surge which saw a dramatic spike of 236% in the total votes compared to the 9th season and which not only pleasantly surprised M-Net but also the TV industry.

Idols also did away with the mid-week elimination episode and combined it with the Sunday show which also returned to a live broadcast format. It elevated the dramatic tension and lifted viewership.

"It enhanced the engagement that viewers have with Idols and with the contestants. It's just been positive," said Victor Eckard.

"There's nothing wrong with the format - it's been working for the past 10 seasons. The fact that it's broken all the records is just another highlight. I don't think the format actually requires significant changes," said Victor Eckard.

Idols has been renewed for an 11th season and will start with nationwide auditions on 31 January 2015.

"We're always going to try and make it more exciting and add a few more surprises here and there," said veteran Idols producer Gavin Wratten.

SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng suspends SABC's chief technology officer, Sipho Masinga, following scathing report about shocking state of SABC infrastructure.

The SABC's famously matricless and controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has suspended its chief technology officer Sipho Masinga - 10 months after the SABC suspended the previous person in the position, Gelfand Kausiyo, who was the acting chief technology officer at the South African public broadcaster.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng suspended Sipho Masinga following a damning report from Sipho Masinga about the SABC's technology infrastructure, stating that the SABC's technology and infrastructure is in such a dilapidated state and in such an aging state and disrepair that "broadcasting disruptions can now happen at any time, any place" at the SABC.

According to a shocking new internal SABC report from Sipho Masinga, the public broadcaster's aging emergency power generators are incapable of providing enough electricity for the SABC to maintain broadcasting of its signals during a power failure - a place supposedly designated a "national keypoint" in South Africa.

According to the report, it will cost the SABC at least R2 billion in infrastructure and technology investment to bring the beleaguered South African public broadcaster's technology and aging infrastructure up to date.

The SABC apparently blames Sipho Masingo for the blackout of the SABC's broadcasting signals.

Sipho Masinga's shocking report about the SABC's technology infrastructure follows the complete blackouts experienced in October when the SABC's three TV channels and radio stations unexpectedly went dark and were cut off.

On 3, 4 and 5 October this year - and shockingly again on 19 October this year - the SABC's TV and radio signals completely disappeared.

The October blackouts of the SABC signals are the "second" time this year following a blackout in April this year due to equipment failure as well as back-up equipment failure.of MultiChoice's head-end equipment at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters.

In multiple media enquiries made the past two months over the cause of the SABC blackouts by TV with Thinus, the SABC refused to say why it happened.

According to Rapport newspaper the blackouts occurred due to the power failures and the complete failure of emergency power generators at the SABC which didn't kick in and which wasn't working.

The problem is being worsened, according to Sipho Masinga's report and compounded by outdated and aging infrastructure and technology which is being used at the SABC which should have been replaced "years ago".

Sipho Masinga's scathing report states that "years and years of mismanagement" at the SABC is "responsible for the blackouts of SABC signals and that the "SABC's aging infrastructure is not being maintained in any of the nine provinces".

According to Sipho Masinga, the SABC has entirely failed the past 16 years to invest in the maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure.

According to Sipho Masinga the public broadcaster is apparently not ready for the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting - something which requires an investment of millions of rand in infrastructure and technology.

According to Sipho Masinga's report "the situation is being worsened through the appointment of unqualified people which places a moratorium on the maintenance of existing infrastructure and investment in new technology".

Sipho Masinga also notes the shocking state of disrepair of the lifts at the SABC in his report, that "several of the SABC's buildings in the nine provinces are unsafe and falling apart", and that "most broadcast studios are totally outdated and shouldn't actually be used for broadcasting anymore".

The SABC didn't respond to a media enquiry made on Sunday.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Parliament makes a second call for the immediate suspension of the lying SABC chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications - the parliamentary committee responsible for oversight of the SABC - has now asked for a second time for the immediate suspension of the SABC's lying chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who was exposed for faking tertiary qualifications on her CV she doesn't have.

The lying Ellen Zandile Tshabalala tried to stall a parliamentary inquiry from proceeding by obstructing it with what proved to be futile court action after she was exposed for claiming to have tertiary qualifications which UNISA says she doesn't have, for management course the university says she failed to complete.

The Western Cape High Court rejected Ellen Zandile Tshabalala's shameful court bid to halt the parliamentary inquiry.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala has so far flat out refused and has been unable and unwilling to answer the very simply question of why she claimed to have to certain qualifications she doesn't have, and why she isn't proving certificates and proof of the qualifications she stated on her CV last year.

She said she had a BComm degree from UNISA and a diploma in labour relations. UNISA says she dropped out and never completed any of it

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications has now again written a memorandum to the speaker of the national assembly for a second time, asking for the immediate suspension of Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who was permanently appointed to the position at the beleaguered SABC a year ago.

"This follows a second unanimous agreement among committee members that Ellen Zandile Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the parliamentary inquiry on 3 December," says Gavin Davis, the Democratic Alliance MP in a statement.

"The committee believes that Ellen Zandile Tshabalala's suspension is crucial given the various delaying tactics she has employed to stall the inquiry. What should have been a quick process has been dragged out for far too long. Already, there are indications that Ellen Zandile Tshabalala's legal team is pushing for another postponement."

Gavin Davis says Ellen Zandile Tshabalala "cannot possibly focus on the mammoth task of turning the SABC around with such serious charges hanging over her" and that she "may be tempted to use the power of her office to assist her in her legal battle".

"We saw last week that she delegated the authority of CEO to Hlaudi Motsoeneng [the SABC's famously matricless and controversial chief operating officer] despite a court ruling that he must be suspended and disciplined."

"Giving an equally compromised ally power over the budget and administration of the SABC can only assist her, to the detriment of the SABC."

"We are vindicated. What it means for us is that we can proceed with our work," says Joyce Moloi-Moropa, the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

Ad agency Joe Public SA moves inappropriate Lovers Plus condom TV commercials on SABC to later timeslots and out of family viewing.

The ad agency Joe Public SA has agreed to move inappropriate Lovers Plus condom TV adverts shown in South Africa on the SABC to later timeslots outside of family viewing following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Autority of South Africa (ASA).

Joe Public SA agreed that the Lovers Plus TV commercials for the cheap condom range which have been shown on SABC3 will be moved to later and other timeslots outside of family viewing.

It follows a complaint by Clint White that the condom adverts which SABC3 showed during the morning and afternoon was inappropriate to show during family viewing timeslots.

Clint White told the ASA in his complaint that his 6 year old children saw the condom commercials during what is supposed to be family viewing.

It led to uncomfortable questions, following the Lovers Plus commercial in which a couple is seen in their underwear on a table, has a condom fall out, and is then seen jumping in under a blanket.

"The respondent has confirmed that it agrees with the SABC's approach to only flight this commercial in programming that is not likely to reach a young audience, and that it would ensure that this approach is followed going forward," says the ASA.

"The ASA is satisfied that the undertaking to ensure that the commercial is henceforth only scheduled during appropriate, mature programming is an adequate resolution to the matter."

Friday, November 21, 2014

BREAKING. The Queen Latifah Show on and M-Net Series Zone cancelled after two seasons.

The Queen Latifah Show, seen in South Africa on and M-Net Series Zone (DStv 115) which are both broadcasting the current second season, just got cancelled - abruptly.

The syndicated American daytime show produced by Sony Pictures Television and not even yet in the middle of its second season will shut down production at the end of December. Staff were told on Friday.

It's was Queen Latifah's second attempt at a TV talk show.

Although ratings were bad and cancellation feared, nobody expected The Queen Latifah Show to cease so suddenly. New episodes will continue to be shown until the end of March 2015 but will all be recorded before the talk show shuts down just before Christmas.

It creates an immediate hole 4 months from now for the M-Net Series Zone and schedules with programmers at and M-Net who will have to do some unexpected work in finding a replacement show.

At's spring programming preview last week the South African broadcaster played a specially recorded message from Queen Latifah for the South African media and TV critics

"We want to thank Queen Latifah, the producers and the entire staff of The Queen Latifah Show for creating a program that we are all very proud of," says Sony Pictures Television said in a statement.

"The most important thing in life is that you wake up every single day and take chances. No matter what the outcome…believe in yourself and continue to fly," says Queen Latifah.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Telkom, MultiChoice in exclusive 6 month broadband deal; customers getting a DStv Explora free when signing a 24 month broadband contract.

From this Sunday 23 November consumers acquiring a new broadband contract from Telkom for 24 months will get one of MultiChoice's DStv Explora decoders for free in an exclusive arrangement between the South African telecom operator and the satellite pay-TV platform.

New Telkom broadband customers who sign a 24 month contract for a 10Mbit/s or faster ADSL service, or existing Telkom broadband customers who upgrade to a 10Mbit/s line, will get a DStv Explora free.

MultiChoice just launched its DStv connected services, enabling the linking of its DStv Explora to the internet.

Through it DStv Premium subscribers are able to set remote recordings from their computers, tablets and smartphones for their decoder, while the expanded DStv Catch Up plus gives subscribers access to more on demand content downloaded through the internet.

A new app, DStv NOW will be released in December.

MultiChoice said last week that it would be making an announcement this week in which it will "take another step to making these services more accessible" for DStv subscribers through the use of these new broadband connected services, but has not yet done so.

"Telkom and MultiChoice have entered into an exclusive 6 month promotion that entails Telkom internet broadband being bundled with the new IP-connected DStv Explora decoder," says Telkom.

"Customers will benefit from faster, high-speed Telkom broadband and more fixed-line data. Furthermore, the free DStv Explora and WiFi connector will allow customers access to the enhanced DStv Catch Up catalogue and additional functionality."

Telkom meanwhile is planning to roll out its own video-on-demand (VOD) service.

SABC cuts Afrikaans; reduces the Afrikaans in environmental magazine show 50/50 which must now be 80% English after move to SABC3.

The SABC has ordered Afrikaans to be further cut down in the environmental magazine show 50/50 from what it used to be; the programme must now be broadcast 80% in English according to orders from the South African public broadcaster.

The SABC returned 50/50 for a new season to the public broadcaster but moved it from its longtime home on SABC2 to SABC3 and also significantly reduced the traditional amount of Afrikaans heard in the show.

Production company Clive Morris Productions that produces 50/50 for the SABC has significantly cut the Afrikaans in the magazine show on SABC orders.

50/50 also moved from SABC2 to SABC3 which has the smallest broadcasting footprint of all the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels - meaning that the least number of TV viewers who want to watch the SABC or a SABC TV channel can actually keep watching it.

Three decades ago when 50/50 started on the erstwhile TV1 of the SABC, the entire programme was in Afrikaans which over the years steadily eroded - first to half, and now to a very small percentage.

In response to media enquiry the SABC tells TV with Thinus that "the move from SABC2 to SABC3 has been informed by both the TV business unit strategy and SABC3's new channel proposition".

"It is important to note that 50/50 is first and foremost an environmental programme," says the SABC. "The language split has been revised to English 80% and 20% Afrikaans."

"The increase in the English language deliver forms part of the fundamental plan to make the programme more accessible, more inclusive and to attract a broader spectrum of South African audiences," says the SABC.

The broadcaster didn't explain how moving 50/50 to a smaller TV channel with a much smaller reception and reducing the language a large part of the traditional core audience watched it in on the broadcaster is making it more accessible

In the whole of the Northern Cape for instance there is only one transmitter broadcasting SABC3, which means only people living in and around Alexander Bay can now watch 50/50 if they wanted to.

"50/50 has been on-air for many years and this is part of the evolution process for the programme," says the SABC.

"We also shy away from our content being identified by our audiences only by language, but rather the actual programme and the message it carries to the viewer," says the SABC. "50/50 has undergone a revamp aligned to the channel and the TV network business strategy with South African viewers in mind."

Earlier the year the SABC also ordered the traditionally Afrikaans soap 7de Laan on SABC2 to undergo changes which will also result in a reduction of the percentage of Afrikaans heard on the show in 2015 as well as significant on-screen changes.

The SABC also moved the Afrikaans TV news bulletin, Nuus om 7 - the broadcaster's sole Afrikaans terrestrial TV news bulletin - in mid-July from SABC2 to SABC3.

The SABC initially claimed and told viewers in promos that it's only temporary, while the SABC told the press and advertisers that the move will be permanent.

After announcing that the Nuus om 7 will move permanently to SABC3 at a programming upfront and in a video presentation and documents handed to the press, the SABC denied it and said the move is temporary, only to suddenly be informing viewers on the air that it is indeed moving permanently.

The move was planned as a permanent move and since the beginning of the year already.

Then suddenly, after saying that the SABC "listened to viewers" the Nuus om 7 moving back earlier this month to SABC2 and its old timeslot.

Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV head publicist, told Netwerk24 that SABC3 has changed its "channel proposition". "It's also not so much lead by language, but is lead by a group of people with similar mindsets" she said.

"Every programme that you find, whatever genre, on SABC3 it will not be language skewed. It will not be to a specific people who speak a certain language but it will be for a South African that can tune in and will understand what is being spoken about on that language," said Zandile Nkonyeni.

Zandile Nkonyeni said "Afrikaans as a language is still very much existent within the SABC".

Human Rights Commission orders M-Net's Carte Blanche to apologise to Lotz family after showing dead daughter's body on TV.

For the second time in months M-Net's Sunday night investigative magazine show Carte Blanche has been ordered to apologise for something it showed.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has ordered the Combined Artistic Productions show to apologise within 6 weeks to the family of the murdered Inge Lotz after Carte Blanche broadcast images of her dead body on 18 September 2008 in the insert "Forensics Investigated".

The Lotz parents complained at the HRC that Carte Blanche producers didn't inform them ahead of time that their dead daughter's body would be shown on M-Net across South African TV screens and that M-Net and Carte Blanche also didn't have permission to use photos of their dead daughter's remains.

The Lotz parents say the images of their dead girl on Carte Blanche caused them emotional trauma and anxiety.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) assisted in the case before the Human Right Commission which has now ruled that Carte Blanche has to implement steps to ensure that all future cases of a similar nature are handled with "maximum respect" according to clause 28.4 of the Broadcasting Code.

M-Net has to give the HRC a written confirmation of the steps that has been taken and implemented within 6 weeks.

The HRC found that although Carte Blanche's broadcast of the dead body of Inge Lotz was in the public interest, that Carte Blanche could have done more and could have informed the Lotz family ahead of time about the intent to broadcast the visuals.

The HRC found that even though permission wasn't required, that it was at least necessary to inform the family members to lessen the traumatic impact of suddenly and unexpectedly seeing their dead daughter's body on television.

EXCLUSIVE. M-Net grabs The Last Ship with Eric Dane; excellent new drama series set to start on M-Net on 2 January at 20:30.

Your're reading it here first. 

M-Net has grabbed the broadcasting rights for the cool new drama series The Last Ship and plans to start broadcasting it from Friday 2 January at 20:30.

While pay-TV broadcasters like StarSat, OpenView HD, and others complain that M-Net and MultiChoice has exclusive broadcasting rights agreements and "such" all-encompassing exclusive content licensing agreements that they can't get anything, there's several high-quality TV shows and other TV content nobody secures the rights of for South Africa.

Several of these TV shows go unseen in South Africa with local viewers who are waiting on any local broadcasters to pick up new shows like The Strain, Crossbones, Black Sails, Cedar Cove and When Calls the Heart for instance.

Any could have grabbed The Last Ship. They just didn't. For months.

And now M-Net has picked it up, meaning that DStv subscribers will be able to watch this engrossing new series in high definition (and most probably on DStv Catch Up).

As late as July this year TV with Thinus checked and lamented how no South African broadcaster has ye bothered to grap The Last Ship, a new drama series with Grey's Anatomy's "McSteamy" Eric Dane - a TV show which was anyone's for the taking if they're willing to pay for it.

M-Net is now planning to use The Last Ship - during an excellent time of the year when people want big, escapism television - to fill the gap between the third season of Arrow going on hiatus in the United States.

The 10 week gap before Arrow resumes on M-Net on 13 March 2015 will be used to play out the 10 episodes of The Last Ship which is based on William Brinkley's book.

Even more unintentionally great is how even more relevant and perfect The Last Ship - filmed before the year's big news events - will resonate and feel real to viewers.

Before Russia's renewed pan-continental and territorial aggression, before the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola in West Africa soon spreading to America and Europa and through several African nations, The Last Ship filmed and started broadcasting its episodes.

Now The Last Ship will feel very real to viewers with the series following the post-apocalyptic story of Commander Tom Chandler of the USS Nathan James whose ship and crew is pursued by Russians in a world where 80% of the population has died from a fast-spreading, super deadly disease.

While Dr Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra) tries to find a cure in a makeshift laboratory on board the ship, the crew is locked in a deadly quest for survival, water, supplies, food, fuel - and to race to various locations across the globe searching for whatever can aid Dr Scott in her work.

The show has already been renewed for a second season.

Josh Gloak the winner of the first season of SABC3's Win a Home competition and Steyn City apartment; Donald Nxumalo wins as best designer.

Josh Gloak (23) is the winner of Win a Home on SABC3 after picking the right safe to open in the reality competition show from Tswelopele Productions which was spin-out into its own TV show this year following the successful insert it was on Top Billing.

Josh Gloak from Morningside chose the charcoal safe after 12 weeks and won the keys to the luxury apartment at Steyn City.

"When I opened the safe, it took me a few seconds to realise what I'd actually won and what was actually in the safe."

"But when I did, it was an unreal feeling, absolutely incredible. My first home. I think that's something special."

In an interesting twist Win a Home combined an interesting reality TV aspect into the show, adding an interior design competition.

Four aspiring designers – Jason Sandows, Jonathan Avnon, Donald Nxumalo and Liza Scholtz - were paired with four established designers – Stephen Falcke, Ditau Interiors' Nthabi Taukobong, Head Interiors' Abilene Brodie, and Design Collective's Amanda Elliott - who acted act as mentors.

Each week, the aspiring designers were given a room décor challenge on a budget determined by their mentor.

At the end of each four-day décor challenge Donald Nxumalo (26) was announced as the winner, getting the opportunity to become one of Steyn City's "preferred" interior designers, as well as receiving a three-month internship with Kim Hutton of Kim H Interiors, who designed the prize apartment.

"We are very proud of this first series of Win a Home and very thankful to our sponsors for their enormous contributions and for Steyn City for hosting us, as well as to SABC3 for giving us the platform to broadcast," says Patience Stevens, executive producer.

"A huge congratulations to Josh. I'm sure he will enjoy the beautiful apartment at Steyn City and all that the lifestyle estate has to offer."

Popular pastor Andries Enslin dumps kykNET, moves to from January 2015 after kykNET demands copyright.

The popular pastor Andries Enslin from the Alberton LewenSentrum has dumped the Afrikaans TV channel kykNET (DStv 144) on MultiChoice's DStv with his Sunday broadcast Die Woord ("The Word") which will be moving to from 4 January 2015 after refusing to give in to kykNET's demands for copyright.

After three and a half years Andries Enslin is done with kykNET, saying the TV channel wanted control over the programme.

kykNET will have to change its replacement Sunday morning programme in January and has to give it a new name - Die Boodskap ("The Message") - a timeslot where  Andries Enslin was responsible for a surge in ratings on Sunday mornings.

Earlier this year kykNET courted controversy when it suddenly inserted crass TV commercials in Die Woord which instantly led to viewer outrage. In May kykNET said the TV adverts was not supposed to be flighted during the Sunday morning show and that it was a mistake.

kykNET in a statement said that its contract with Die Woord, Andries Enslin and the Alberton LewenSentrum is coming to an end at the end of December, saying the channel wants to "give bigger exposure to other congregations and pastors from across the country".

"The format of the programme will remain the same, with a weekly church service on Sundays, as well as shorter bits lengthened to 10 minutes".

Karen Meiring, M-Net director of Afrikaans channels says in the statement that Andries Enslin "will naturally be invited to form a part of this bigger spiritual channel strategy, should he be available".

Karen Meiring says that kykNET wants to give more institutions the same opportunity."There is also big plans for gospel music on kykNET Musiek (DStv 146) as well as kykNET & Kie (DStv 145)".

BREAKING. Netflix expanding to New Zealand and Australia in March 2015, is South Africa next?

The global video streaming service Netflix is expanding to New Zealand and Australia and has announced that it will become available in those southern hemisphere countries from March 2015. Is South Africa next?

Netflix started an aggressive roll-out across Europe in September, including countries like Germany and France and its major expansion to now include New Zealand and Australia from early in 2015 signals a strong likelihood that its international growth plans will eventually include South Africa as well where the launch of video-on-demand (VOD) services suddenly exploded the past two months.

Nothing is preventing Netflix from entering South Africa, except for the painstaking and often cumbersome process of acquiring broadcasting rights for individual programming; Netflix is currently licensing some of its high-buzz shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black to M-Net which is showing it on its TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv.

If Netflix eventually launches in South Africa, those titles will for instance not be on Netflix until such time as such a licensing agreement ends.

A Netflix South Africa offering, should it eventually launch, will start small just like a newly launched TV channel, mostly with library titles, and then grow and expand in volume over time as it adds more original and exclusive series and content.

Netflix first expanded into Canada in 2010, Latin America in 2011 and then the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia in 2012.

The video-streaming giant, like all VOD services, is however conscious of the end-user experience and South Africa still has a way to go in terms of not just broadband penetration and availability, but also streaming and download speeds while the cost of internet and broadband to consumers remain prohibitively high.

Players like Times Media's VIDI, Altech's Node, MobileTV which plans to launch its full service in February 2015, along with the French telecom operator Orange which wants to expand its new Dailymotion VOD offering, are suddenly all vying for a slice of the new VOD pie.

VIDI and Node offer mostly library content of old series and movies. Then there's Telkom which has plans to launch a VOD service and MultiChoice which is growing and enhancing its existing DStv BoxOffice and DStv Catch Up services and just launched its DStv internet connected services for its premium DStv Explora decoder.

Sadly, the bulk of South African consumers can't really sign up for and utilise these services which quickly gobble up gigas of data, and are handicapped as users of VOD services by slow speeds, high prices and words like "shaped" and "capped" from internet service providers.

In South Africa's favour however for a Netflix launch counts a large English-speaking consumer market, the most sophisticated digital content management rights environment on the African continent, a strong and fast-growing smartphone and WiFi market, a fast growing satellite TV market and a large and growing black middle class consumer market willing to pay for better TV and video content and who are disillusioned with the tepid TV offering of the beleaguered SABC.

The addition of New Zealand and Australia would bring the number of countries and territories enjoying Netflix to more than 50.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Idols breaks voting record, M-Net reality show to surpass 20 million votes in historic 10th season.

Idols on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) which has already been renewed for an 11th season, has broken a voting record, with the singing reality show set to pass 20 million votes in the historic 10th season which will conclude this coming Sunday with a live finale.

By enabling more voting options, allowing voting through social media platforms and harnessing social media involvement, Idols' voting has spiked by a massive 173% compared to the previous season - one of the reasons which led to the early renewal announcement of the veteran M-Net show.

More than 19 814 684 votes were already cast in this season, making it a sure bet that the final voting tally will surpass 20 million when this week's votes are added - the last week during which viewers can vote and which usually sees an additional voting surge as fans support their choice of the final two contestants.

"Viewer response to the historic 10th season of Idols has been phenomenal, exceeding our wilfest expectations," says Victor Eckard, director of M-Net.

"Week after week we have crushed previous seasons' records and we're waiting with baited breath to see how many votes will be cast leading up to the final on 23 November."

"Traditionally, votes peak in the all-important Top 2 voting period leading up to the finale as everyone wants to make sure that their favourite scoops the Idols title," says Victor Eckard.

The 10th season Idols winner will be Bongi Silinda (24) from Nelspruit or Vincent Bones (30) from Pietermaritzburg who will be performing on Sunday from Carnival City in a live broadcast.

Voting for them closes on Friday 21 November at 22:00.

This season of Idols ditched the Tuesday elimination and results show, opting to move it into the Sunday evening show at the beginning, and also returning the Sunday programme to a live broadcast to try and lift ratings.

Nkateko Mabaso, director of M-Net's local interest channels says especially younger viewers remain enthralled by the reality format show.

"The inclusion of more voting platforms and the free WeChat voting made it much easier for fans to support their favourites."

Bridget Masinga slams Kim Kardashian on's Screentime with Nicky Greenwall; reveals the TV industry's very true open secret about the Kartrashians.

Telenality Bridget Masinga is slamming Kim Kardashian, revealing an open secret inside South Africa's TV industry about the disgusting behaviour, self-consumed narcissism and out-of-control diva-demands which makes working with the Kardashians pure hell for those working in the TV biz.

In Wednesday night's episode of the pre-recorded Screentime with Nicky Greenwall on at 21:35, Bridget Masinga will reveal the nightmare behind-the-scenes she herself and her TV crew endured at the hands of the "Kartrashians" when Kim and sister Khloe jetted to South Africa in 2010.

Kim and Khloe Kardashian's South African visit in December 2010 for a terrible Brutal Fruit launch was an unmitigated disaster and a totally unmanaged mess behind the scenes, where journalists and the media in Johannesburg and Cape Town who tried to get access, cover events or do even short interviews grinded their teeth about the demands, disgusting behaviour and aloof disinterest of the sisters.

"She was just so sour," says the former All Access presenter who in 2010 tried to interview Kim and Kloe for the M-Net magazine show.

"She was a diva extrodinaire!" says Bridget Masinga, pointing to an image of Kim Kardashian, revealing that the sister had a "camp" of minders with them who made several demands on the production team. "Crop her here", "Can I check the lighting" , "Please make sure if it's a wide shot it doesn't go below the knees because she doesn't like her knees".

Bridget Masinga says she didn't like Kim Kardashian's disinterested behaviour during the interview.

"I do think they were a little jet-lagged - but I also believe in being professional: you've committed to something, you've been briefed. She irked me completely. I un-followed her that day."

Viewers won't know it but Nicky Greenwall herself and several other TV biz insiders suffered at the hands of the sisters.

In December 2010 Nicky Greenwall herself, then still doing The Showbiz Report on, also tried to get an interview.

After being made to wait for literally hours with a camera crew at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town where the launch took place, with no indication of what is happening or who the PR people are (in fact there were none and even Brutal Fruit abandoned the launch event where the Kardashians blatantly ordered and drank Red Bull showcased in an aluminium ice bucket) even Nicky Greenwall packed up and left.

Insiders at Top Billing on SABC3 described that magazine show's interview with the Kardashians at the time as "utter hell" and "one of the most unprofessional, difficult and traumatic shoots ever" and Janez Vermeiren who interviewed the sisters didn't know what to do when he and the Tswelopele Productions crew found it impossible to get the sisters to look up from their phones, focus and show interest and actually answer any questions.

Khloe Kardashian's disdain for the South African press was once again evident earlier this year at MTV Base's MTV Africa Music Awards in June.

She refused to do interviews with the media, yet interrupted and overshadowed the pre awards event press conference with her massive entourage and then blatantly got up and moved out of shot during the live awards show when the producers wanted to frame her in the background of Bonang Matheba who did a link introducing a next category of nominees.

Here is what Janez Vermeiren had to say about his excruciating encounter with Kim Kardashian "who shouldn't even be a celebrity":

(start watching from 5:14 to 6:15)

TV actress Yvonne van den Bergh - or dominatrix Mistress Baton - reveals her BDSM lifestyle and her love of caning and whipping naked men.

Actress Yvonne van den Bergh - or dominatrix Mistress Baton - has revealed her BDSM lifestyle and her love of caning and whipping men, coming out about her "sadistic impulses" following an obsessed stalker who tried to ruin her life.

While several journalists covering the TV industry and TV critics were aware and made aware of Yvonne van den Bergh's private life (TV with Thinus and several others included) and told about her dominatrix persona by a man, nobody reported on it.

The actress, known for roles on kykNET (DStv 144) in dramas like Vallei van Sluiers, Getroud met Rugby and Petra in the SABC2 soap 7de Laan, decided to come forward herself and is explaining on Facebook about her until now secret persona of Mistress Baton and why she loves tying up men naked and then dishing out hit after hit until the blood flows.

An obsessed European stalker recently started to harass her, finding her work numbers and email and sending photos and information to her agent, TV critics, friends, broadcasters like kykNET, sponsors and the South African Guild of Actors.

Yvonne van den Bergh was fearful of the media discovering her life as Mistress Baton and the BDSM world her husband Jacques du Preez, the former Geraas presenter on SABC2 introduced her to, and decided to come forward herself and tell people about her "BDSM journey".

"Seeing slaves being whipped in old TV series and films, was another favourite of mine throughout my childhood," she writes. "I didn't know about BDSM and that I would be able to do it to people with their consent as well as their pleasure until I was a teenager and even more well-read than I was as a child."

"I chose a profession where I work in the public eye. Those two things, motherhood and my fear of public exposure, kept me from acting on my sadistic impulses for many years."

"Imagine the prejudice a kind and loving mother, who works where thousands can watch her, might expect if it became known she loves caning and whipping men! That is the reason I waited so many years to start my BDSM journey."

"Eventually, it was my wonderful husband who decided to gently push me into it and his support helped me overcome my fear of exposure."

"Now I don't care about other people's issues and uninformed prejudice anymore. I don't fear exposure anymore. I'm not going to ignore such a big part of my life, which I enjoy so much, because the world is bigoted."

"The moment I first put cane to bum, I knew it would become a very big part of my life. I will never stop doing it," writes Yvonne van den Bergh. "I love giving intense pleasure through intense pain. I love deriving intense pleasure by inflicting intense pain."

StarSat opens 8 TV channels to lower-tiered subscribers for a 'week'; increases subsidisation of StarSat decoders and installation.

On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes South Africa's StarSat satellite pay-TV platform has opened and unencoded 8 TV channels for a week for StarSat Special and StarSat Smart subscribers while the Woodmead-based satellite pay-TV provider is upping its subsidisation of StarSat decoders and installation for consumers.

Until Friday StarSat subscribers get unrestricted access to FOX Movies (StarSat 110), PoP (StarSat 302), StarTimes Movies 1 (StarSat 100), StarTimes Sport 2 (StarSat 241), Qyou (StarSat 165), Trace Sport Stars (StarSat 250), Nat Geo Gold (StarSat 220) and the StarTimes Series E1 (StarSat 125) channels.

The StarSat channels were opened to subscribers on Saturday already although StarSat's PR company Burston-Marsteller Africa only managed to inform the media and press by Monday after 17:08, more than two days after the promotion started, yet still saying subscribers will have a "week" of open viewing until Friday 21 November.

A PR spokesperson didn't bother to respond to a media enquiry asking when the unencoded channels' promotion started.

StarSat is also upping its subsidisation of StarSat decoders and installation hoping to drive subscriber growth, with new subscribers who can now get a StarSat decoder and full installation for R399 until 10 January 2015.

"This open view week of the stars allows subscribers the opportunity to experience more of our channels, and we encourage them to watch some of the channels they may not normally have access to on their current StarSat package," says Ian Woodrow, the head of content at StarSat.

Defiant and embattled SABC chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala vehemently denies bedding Jacob Zuma and being the president's 'nyatsi'.

Sordid news and scandal keeps swirling around the beleaguered SABC's chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala and its famously matricless and supposed-to-be-suspended TV tsar Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala is now vehemently denying long-running industry gossip which finally made it into print in Sunday's Sunday Sun tabloid: that the recalcitrant chairperson who've been caught out lying about fake tertiary qualifications that she doesn't have, had been bedding president Jacob Zuma as a sex-on-the-side lover.

No other South African broadcaster's top brass is as constantly crass tabloid fodder as the people supposed to run the SABC, indicative of the way the country's TV and media industry perceives the wayward and scandalously out of control executives "running" the embattled public broadcaster.

On Sunday the Sunday Sun splashed sensational "revelations" which had been small talk in the TV biz for months, citing unnamed sources calling Ellen Zandile Tshabalala president Jacob Zuma's "nyatsi (or mistress) and his "pet by night".

The Sunday Sun's unnamed sources claimed that the affair between Ellen Zandile Tshabalala and president Jacob Zuma who already has several wives is "a well-known secret".

In a statement Ellen Zandile Tshabalala released on Monday evening through the SABC's PR office, calling the article "a violent attack" on her, saying that "it is also an onslaught on the public broadcaster that I chair".

"I want to put it categorically that this has no basis in fact, and it is meant to hurt, undermine me, the SABC, as well as the office of the presidency".

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who has close ties with president Jacob Zuma blasts print media in her statement, saying the Sunday Sun story "characterises how the print media will stoop to such low levels to misinform and misrepresent facts".

However, Ellen Zandile Tshabalala in her statement says nothing about how the SABC misinform and misrepresent facts, blatantly censors the news and decided to not broadcast live last week's controversial Nkandla debate in parliament while other TV channels like eNCA (DStv 403) and ANN7 (DStv 405) did.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala also says nothing about misinforming and misrepresenting herself and her bogus qualifications before parliament's portfolio committee on communications at the end of last year when she applied to be chairperson of the SABC with made up UNISA qualifications which the university says she doesn't have for courses the institution says she never completed.

In her statement Ellen Zandile Tshabalala says "it is clear that this has become a personal attack on me, and that there is another agenda that seeks to derail me from executing my duties as chairperson of the SABC".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Civil society 'deeply alarmed' at DStv's Parliamentary Service TV channel being cut and censored for the third time in three months.

YouTube screengrab/Gwandile

MultiChoice's Parliamentary Service TV channel (DStv 408) on the DStv satellite pay-TV platform has become "must-see" television for South Africans and the world - because of what it's not showing.

The world is now watching DStv's Parliamentary Service TV channel as another example of shocking encroaching censorship, with the channel which was cut again this past Thursday for the third time in as many months - preventing South Africans from seeing what is going in in parliament.

Neither the Parliamentary Service TV channel nor MultiChoice has so far offered any explanations as to why the TV channel is not doing what its purpose it - which is showing the live events, debates and situations as it unfolds inside parliament.

Viewers are wondering what the use is of the DStv parliamentary TV channel if its blacked out and the feed cut when they want to watch it, while civil society watch groups are becoming increasingly concerned about the blatant censorship that happens every time something happens inside South Africa's parliament certain people decide they don't want the South African public to see.

Viewers got a glimpse of what actually happened inside South Africa's National Assembly on Thursday evening thanks to cellphone footage which quickly made its way onto 24-hour TV news channels like eNCA (DStv 403).

"South Africans have the right to know who gave these instructions and who should be held to account for such deeply undemocratic tendencies," says Right2Know Campaign (R2K) spokesperson Murray Hunter.

"There has been no credible explanation for the cutting of Parliament's live television feed, and no explanation can justify it," said Murray Hunter.

PEN South Africa, part of an international organisation which represents writers, editors and translators, and whose members have pledged themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression or censorship but to uphold freedom of the press, says it is "deeply alarmed" at the censorship.

PEN South Africa says it's concerned about the "serious manipulation of the TV reporting of the proceedings in parliament where the camera pictures were cut thus preventing citizens of the country from viewing the actual proceedings in the house, the unruliness of MP's and alleged assaults by police".

PEN South Africa rightly states that "the manipulation and censoring of Parliament's TV broadcasts has occured on more than one occasion in recent weeks" and is "deeply alarmed that these are deliberate and serious inroads on freedom of expression and transparency, core values which form the basis of our constitutional democracy".

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) is also protesting the censorship to have the Parliamentary TV channel on DStv cut.

has dispatched a letter to the spokesperson of Parliament, Luzuko Jacobs, protesting against the soft censorship that is creeping into the broadcasting of proceedings.

"On Thursday, the feed was cut off at a time when there were scuffles. This followed two other incidents on August 21 and last week when a member of the opposition was arguing with the Speaker ending with that Member being suspended."

"In this latter instance, the feed was manipulated to stay focused on the Speaker, thus not allowing the public to get the full picture of the on goings in the House," says Sanef.

"Sanef reiterates its call for presiding officers in parliament to ensure that there is no censorship of the debates in the house, irrespective of the content of those debates and the need for presiding officers to protect the image of the house."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BREAKING. Matricless and 'suspended' Hlaudi Motsoeneng suddenly appointed as CEO of the SABC for 9 days by Ellen Tshabalala.

The famously matricless, highly controversial and high court ordered "suspended" chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC Hlaudi Motsoeneng has now been appointed as the acting chief operating officer (CEO) of the SABC by none other than the recalcitrant Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, SABC chairperson, who've been exposed as lying about bogus tertiary qualifications she doesn't have and who ran to court to try and obstruct a parliamentary inquiry about her fake qualifications.

The Sunday Times reports that the controversial Ellen Zandile Tshabala - who've refused to step down as SABC chairperson after she was exposed for claiming to have qualifications for tertiary studies at UNISA the university says she never completed - has now appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng as CEO at the beleaguered SABC.

The Public Protector in February in a scathing report found that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC" and ordered him suspended.

Failure by the SABC executive and SABC board to do so and to comply with the findings of the Public Protector's report - which also found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng in a recorded interview admitted to lying about having a matric and "made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he couldn't produce" as well as multiple other transgressions and implicating him in corruption and maladministration - saw the case being taken to the Western Cape High Court.

The Western Cape High Court also ordered Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be "suspended immediately" and for the SABC to start a disciplinary hearing against Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Hlaudi Motsoeneng decided to appeal the high court ruling.

Now as ongoing scandal is swirling around Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who has close ties with president Jacob Zuma, handed the scandal-riddled Hlaudi Motsoeneng - also with close ties to president Jacob Zuma - the reigns of the SABC as acting CEO for 9 days.

In a letter Ellen Zandile Tshabalala grants Hlaudi Motsoeneng the authority to "undertake the duties and functions of the group chief executive officer with effect from 13 November 2014 to 22 November 2014".

The acting SABC CEO, Anton Heunis, is ill.

"The fact is that neither Ellen Zandile Tshabalala nor Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be in office making decisions that affect the future of the SABC," says Gavin Davis, the Democratic Alliance's shadow minister of communications in a press statement.

"Yet they now appear to be consolidating their grip on the public broadcaster."

"Now that he has the power of the CEO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng is in charge of the administration of the SABC, including budgets and senior appointments. The CEO is also the editor-in-chief, which means that Hlaudi Motsoeneng now has the power to make editorial decisions."

"Ellen Zandile Tshabalala needs as many powerful allies as she can muster to survive the qualifications scandal she is engulfed in." Gavin Davis says "she should not be in a position to abuse her power in a way that advantages her".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng clearly has a hold over Ellen Tshabalala, which is problematic given that it is the SABC board chairperson who must execute the court order to suspend him and hold a disciplinary hearing."