While South Africans are still nursing their wounds over the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s decision to ban reading of newspaper headlines on-air, the public broadcaster’s Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has aired another wonderful idea for the corporation.
According to SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, if he should have his way, he will instruct or rather ‘force’ SABC’s employees to start carrying out their official duties in uniforms.
Speaking in an interview with local daily, City Press, SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he had been “thinking maybe our employees should have uniforms so that they can understand unity”.
But what would the uniform look like? Perhaps something like this:
• Headgear: The doek. Perfect for expressing both uniformity and individualism — the doek has the auspicious ability to unite but, at the same time, be a symbol of protest.
• Uniform: The safari suit, updated in modern African print. The safari suit is a nod to the old oppressors and — updated in a fashionable print — a great reminder that, while things change, everything stays the same.
• Footwear: Gumboots. Not only a poignant symbol of the exploitative past and synonymous with the controversial mining history, these hard-wearing rubber boots would provide the perfect protection for wading through all Motsoeneng’s missives,” as cuddled from the local daily.
Meanwhile, the public broadcaster has defended its decision to put to an end reading of newspaper headlines in all programs across its TV and radio platforms.
SABC’s defense is coming after it was widely criticized for taking such decision, which many labelled as a form of censorship.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, who spoke to TMG Entertainment on Thursday, said: “This is a business decision that was made this week. It is not a policy but simply a decision that we have made as an institution,” he said.
Kaizer however disclosed that SABC made the move when it realized that the reading of newspaper headlines was providing free advertising for the publications that the headlines were being read from.
“This decision is not a form of censorship in anyway. How can it be? We are not obligated to read newspaper headlines on our show. If people want to read headlines they can see it on billboards.
We have an obligation to provide news content to our audiences but that can be done through our own internal news organisation that gathers and provides news to our platforms, We refuse to give people free advertising,”
The SABC makes 80 percent of its revenue from advertising and so by us reading newspaper headlines, we are just giving them free publicity. They do not pay us for that exposure and we are not required to prove it,” he added.
However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament (MP) Phumzile van Damme slammed the move, describing it as an action towards one motive.
DA Lambastes SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng
“It’s another attempt by Hlaudi Motsoeneng to ban any news that is critical of the ANC,” van Damme said.
Prior to the ‘maddening’ decision, the public broadcaster earlier stopped showing violent and destructive protests that take place across the country in a bid to discourage others, especially youths from partaking in such ‘destructive’ acts.
This decision was cheerfully welcomed by the African National Congress (ANC). The party said it supported the decision to ban such footage, landing them at odds with allies, Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP)- who rejected SABC’s ‘deceptive’ decision.