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Hlaudi’s negotiation skills needed at the SABC after PSL debacle

By BO Staff Writer

It was a weekend of uncertainty and anxiety for soccer lovers in South Africa as the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announced that radio listeners would be excluded from broadcasts of the Premiere Soccer League (PSL) this season. Negotiations between the state broadcaster and the PSL came to a stalemate after the two entities failed to reach consensus regarding the terms of their radio broadcasting contract.

On Monday, the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane, and the Minister of Sport, Tokozile Xasa stepped in to find a resolution to the dispute. After a meeting was held with all concerned parties, it was agreed that “all soccer matches will be broadcast on SABC radio platforms as per the fixtures list of the PSL,” said a joint statement by the SABC, communications and sports ministries.

Radio is the most popular broadcasting platform in the country, catering to over 35 million listeners, who are majority black.

During Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s tenure as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the public broadcaster no such disturbances were ever reported. Much like other pro-black executives, including Brian Molefe who stopped loadshedding at Eskom and Dudu Myeni who exposed the corrupt practices of white corporates, while turning South African Airways (SAA) around, Motsoeneng was (and still is) at the receiving end of vicious attacks from white-owned media who say he caused the crisis at SABC. Even with the attacks, he was able to keep the ship afloat and made sure that millions of people in the country still got to listen to their favorite sport on the radio.

According to a report by City Press, the current board blames Motsoeneng for the woes at SABC (which include over R100 million of unpaid bills). The “sources” claim that Motsoeneng’s 90% local content policy is to blame for the crumbling financials. Since last year, the new board (which was completely antagonistic towards Motsoeneng) has been trying to discredit the black leader using the progressive policy as a scapegoat. The 90% policy was hated by agents of white monopoly capital because it 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, came to his defence numerous times, saying that the policy was good for black artists.

What the mainstream media never told you were the efforts Motsoeneng had initiated for the insourcing of security and cleaning personnel at the broadcaster. This is why he was loved by the people on the ground. What the white media also won’t tell you is how the new interim-board was milking the public broadcaster. By December last year, after only six months of being appointed, the board gifted itself R3.2 million which was shared amongst the five board members.

Whatever problems the SABC might have come across during Motsoeneng’s tenure, they never directly affected the viewing and listening pleasure of the poor majority who depend on the state broadcaster for information, news and entertainment. The inability, or unwillingness of the SABC to negotiate with the PSL was a direct attack on the poor, and an opportunity for white-owned entities like Multichoice to benefit.

Many progressive black people are calling for the much needed negotiation skills of Motsoeneng, who put the needs of the majority at the forefront of his dealings with service providers. Motsoeneng was not captured by white capital. #BringBackHlaudi