By BO Staff Writer
Yesterday parliament heard that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) interim board would be scraping some of the developments made by former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, including the 90% local content policy.
While addressing the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), SABC interim board deputy chair Mathata Tsedu said that the 90% policy on radio and 80% local content policy on television was costing the broadcaster and would be done away with.
“90-10 is not really a policy because it was never debated at any board meeting,” Tsedu told Scopa.
Last year, Motsoeneng introduced the policy which required all state run radio stations to play 90% local music and SABC television channels to play 80% local content. The moved was met with wide support by artists whose sources of income were dwindling because of little airplay on radio (with radio stations favouring Euro-American music) and with few local productions on television.
Tsedu said the introduction of the rule threatened the existence of the state broadcaster because it created debt from having to pay increased royalties.
“We’re looking at ways of rolling back detrimental consequences of decisions that have been taken before. This would include even things like 90-10 [on radio] and 80-20 on television where radio has lost R29-million, TV has lost R183-million, we’ve spent R72-million additionally in sourcing new local content to displace the content that we could no longer use because we were enforcing the 90-10,” he said.
The 90% policy was one of the first few policies which was unapologetically pro-black since 1994. As a pro-transformation manager, Motsoeneng received criticisms from white media and the opposition but artists, including veteran musician, Blondie Makhene, have come to his defence, saying that the policy was good for black artists.
“I’m saying to the new board at the SABC‚ don’t come to play with us. We are not the children who you controlled before,” Makhene said at a #HandsOffHlaudi press briefing last month.
Some gains ushered in by Motsoeneng include talks to insource security personnel and cleaners (low paid work done by black people) at SABC.