SABC needs it real, cheap and nasty

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

DON’T get ex­cited now and do some­thing silly, like or­der up a bunch of fizzy drinks, but we have come up with a plan that may just save the SABC and turn it into some­thing that vaguely re­sem­bles a na­tional broad­caster.

Why bother, I hear you ask? Well, it is true that we really don’t care what hap­pens to it, but we’ve grown rather bored with the tire­some head­lines about the board­room farces and drama at Auck­land Park and, rather than whine and moan and bitch about it like ev­ery­body else, the Ma­hogany Ridge reg­u­lars de­cided that a pos­i­tive ap­proach was needed. All in the coun­try’s best in­ter­ests. Ob­vi­ously.

First thing, Ja­cob Zuma must ac­cept the res­ig­na­tions of chair­man Ben Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie. In an ap­par­ent bid to force the pres­i­dent to over­rule the board, both handed in their no­tice when the board kicked out act­ing chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and ANC toady, Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng.

No such thing must hap­pen. All three must go. They have no in­ter­est in broad­cast­ing. They’re politi­cians and, as such, wish to cause us great harm rather than serve up crack­ing good movies on Sun­day nights.

We now need to deal with the rest of the board. The fol­low­ing non-ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers, we’ve de­cided, must also pack up and leave. Former Inkatha Free­dom Party MP Suzanne Vos. There are fears she may still be po­lit­i­cally ac­tive and there­fore “un­clean”. Best then not to take chances.

Cawe Mahlati used to run a TV sta­tion in one of the ban­tus­tans. An un­guided mis­sile prone to shriek­ing, her dis­rup­tive, “big hair, big mouth” style – as she has been de­scribed – is per­haps more ap­pro­pri­ate in what the cur­rent government passes off as a diplo­matic corps.

Not much is known about Sem­bie Danana but, judg­ing by a photo on the SABC web­site, he ap­pears to be a zom­bie. He prob­a­bly roams the coun­try­side feast­ing on the brains of his vic­tims. Best he stays out there.

No­luthando Gosa was a board mem­ber be­fore – but she re­signed in De­cem­ber 2005 amid al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and involvement in the ban­ning of footage of former deputy pres­i­dent Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka get­ting booed at a rally. Ob­vi­ously a case of cadre re­de­ploy­ment. Or cadre vu?

Cedric Gina is the pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers. What does a met­al­worker know about broad­cast­ing? His be­ing a board mem­ber is so very be­yond WTF, it’s like WTFF.

And lastly, Lumko Mtimde. Any per­son whose on-line bio opens with the brazen sug­ges­tion that he is “a na­tional me­dia ex­pert” is clearly un­fit for the job. The fol­low­ing may stay: Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Gugu Duda, who de­spite her youth, has an im­pres­sive track record in the pri­vate sec­tor; Claire O’Neil, the sales lady; Des­mond Gold­ing, who used to be eco­nomic ad­viser to the former pub­lic works min­is­ter Ge­off Doidge; and, pro­vided she at least tries to stop be­ing so bloody grim about ev­ery­thing, Pippa Green, a former jour­nal­ist who now teaches at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria.

Next, we must di­vest the cor­po­ra­tion of the no­tion that it is ca­pa­ble of “qual­ity” or “se­ri­ous” jour­nal­ism. This is not what peo­ple want from the SABC.

What they want is en­ter­tain­ment. That is why they have mon­strous flatscreen jobs slapped up on the walls of their liv­ing rooms.

Ac­cord­ingly, stuff the board with en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try nobs, peo­ple who know about putting ar­ses on seats. It’s not rocket sci­ence, you know.

We un­der­stand there is a bit of a cash cri­sis, what with the years of mis­man­age­ment and whole­sale thiev­ing, but good en­ter­tain­ment need not cost the earth.

No-one is ask­ing the cor­po­ra­tion to go toe-to-toe with its com­peti­tors by throw­ing money at some Hol­ly­wood stu­dio’s crap re­work­ing of Sher­lock Holmes or get­ting into a ridicu­lous bid­ding war over screen­ing rights for Euro­pean foot­ball. The SABC lost those bat­tles years ago, any­way.

No, Auck­land Park’s fu­ture is much closer to home. To give you an idea of what we have in mind, here’s an idea we’re kick­ing about at the moment: Out & About with Up The Spout: A 26part se­ries in which we visit schools where pupils name and shame the teach­ers who made them preg­nant. The educators are then put in stocks and pelted with veg­eta­bles and other ob­jects. To be hosted by the Univer­sity of the Free State’s Jonathan Jansen, a well-known fig­ure.

It’s real, it’s cheap, it’s nasty. But above all, we’re con­vinced it’s what the mob out there wants. And by mob, we mean just that. Keep them happy and they may not come af­ter you. Not just yet, any­way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.