INDABA Newsletter | November 2017

SABC seeks to alter rules giving pay-TV stations free use of channels

The SABC has asked the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to conduct an urgent public review of regulations that allow pay-TV operators to carry its television channels for free.

Passed in 2008, the so-called “must carry” regulations oblige all subscription broadcasters with more than 30 channels to transmit the SABC’s three free to-air television channels.

The SABC board is reviewing all contracts and regulations that hamper its sustainability.

The Treasury is considering the SABC’s request for a R3bn guarantee after the broadcaster made record losses in the past two financial years and faces a liquidity crisis.

In a letter to Icasa’s acting chairman, Paris Mashile, SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini said the “must carry” regulations had “had a serious impact on the SABC from a potential revenue point of view”.

The regulations “zero rate” the SABC channels and had created a “noncommercial negotiating environment”, he said.

The submission said the regulations seemed to have been drafted on the basis that the “must carry obligation” was an onerous one for subscription broadcasters, which would be “doing the public broadcaster a favour” by carrying its channels.

“The SABC will demonstrate in the public process that, on the contrary, the SABC ‘must carry’ channels have commercially benefited MultiChoice Africa at the expense of the public broadcaster,” wrote Makhathini.

SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 were among the most-watched channels on MultiChoice’s DStv, the public broadcaster stated.

“By reviewing and amending the regulations, [Icasa] will be fulfilling one of its core statutory objectives as set out in “the Electronic Communications Act, which is to ‘protect the integrity and viability of public broadcasting services’,” Makhathini said.

Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said the regulator had noted the contents of the letter.

“Icasa wishes to advise that in developing any regulations, [it] is required by law to follow a prescribed and detailed process in line with principles of administrative justice and fairness.

“The process must involve engagement of all stakeholders through public consultation. The process was followed during the development and implementation of the ‘must carry’ regulations; and the SABC participated fully in that process.”

Maleka said the review of the regulations was not in Icasa’s plan for the current financial year, so the SABC’s request could only be considered in line with Icasa’s future planned programmes of performance.


‘Qoboza was a brave trailblazer’

Humble, trailblazer and brave were some of the words used to describe the country’s most renowned editor Percy Qoboza.

These praises were sung at the Bambo Hall at Unisa during the National Press Club’s 7th annual Percy Qoboza memorial lecture recently.

Qoboza’s son Vusi said his father was a trailblazer as he did not follow anyone’s footsteps.

“He took decisions and stood by them”.

“It is now 40 years after Black Wednesday but we still let things happen in our country. We should not be in a comfort zone, we cannot let Black Wednesday happen again,” Vusi said.

Speaking highly of his father, Vusi Qoboza said his father had a great love for his country and his people.

And said the best way to honour people like Qoboza would be by ensuring SA had a bright future.

“Conscientising the country about issues we are faced with and creating a safe environment for children is the way to honour people like Percy,” he said.

The annual lecture is held in remembrance of this country’s most renowned editor in order to help strengthen the pillars of democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of media to ensure that Black Wednesday never happens again.

Qoboza was an influential South African journalist, author, editor and an outspoken critic of the apartheid government. His editorials were known to challenge white South Africans who were shielded from the horrors of apartheid experienced by millions of black South Africans.

He died in 1988 at the age of 50.

IOL/Pretoria News

State Capture named SA word of the year

State Capture has come out tops as the 2017 South African word of the year, Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) announced recently.

It beat White Monopoly Capital and Blesser, which both made the shortlist.

PanSALB spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi said State Capture was used 20 231 times, in over 11 000 South African newspaper editions.

It received the majority of coverage in daily newspapers – accounting for 68% of the total coverage. Sunday newspapers accounted for 19% of mentions.

The term State Capture gained fame after it was used in the title of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s 355-page report.

The report essentially found there was political corruption through the capture of prominent individuals and state institutions in order to control decision making, to benefit private interests.

Madonsela highlighted the control the Gupta family has over the country.

Nkosi said candidates for word of the year were reviewed to determine what best captured the philosophy, mood or obsession of that particular year.

All findings are based on research conducted by Focal Points and Newsclip on factual statistics found within the country’s media.

“We are happy with the choice as it echoes a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse,” Chief Executive Officer of PanSALB, Dr Mpho Monareng said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if State Capture becomes one of the defining words of our time”, Monareng said.

Discovery Health journalism awards – entries close on 2 March 2018

Entries for the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year Award close on 2 March 2018.

This award recognises distinguished reporting on health and healthcare issues that sets the benchmark in the field of health reporting. It goes to work that shows a demonstration and understanding of the highest journalism principles in increasing public understanding on topics that have a bearing on the country’s healthcare system and on people’s lives.

The independent judging panel will evaluate and judge all submitted material according to the following criteria:

  • Understanding of subject and environment
  • Interpretation of events and clinical accuracy
  • Balanced, fair reporting
  • Impact on industry and consumers
  • Newsworthiness and relevance
  • Communication and use of medium
  • Quality of information
  • Raising awareness and education

For more information or to enter go to

Thank you for paying membership fees

Thank you to those press club members who have paid their membership fees for 2017.

However, a large number of members have not yet paid their fees and we appeal to them to do so.

Membership fees are R300 for full members and R500 for associate members.

Members are requested to use their surname as reference when payment is done, so that it can be picked up easily by the secretariat.

Contact the secretariat on if you are unsure about your payment status.


Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to Martin van Niekerk at the secretariat on, 082 257 0305. Website | Facebook | Twitter