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04 July 2011

IPO Media Statement on Current SABC Crisis

2 JULY 2011

ARE WE WITNESSING THE SELF DESTRUCTION OF THE PUBLIC

BROADCASTER?

The Independent Producers' Organisation (IPO) is dismayed by the news of a further crisis at the SABC and the resignation of Board member, Peter Harris. We believe that the delay in the appointment of a competent Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and the placement of a yet another Acting GCEO is a huge problem.

We would like to point out that most of the organisation is run by people in an acting position. There is no GCEO, no Chief Financial Officer and no Chief Operating Officer either. The inability of the Board to act decisively in the appointment of a GCEO means the continuation of a situation of administrative limbo.

We have to ask the question – why is the board not making a decision on a GCEO? Is it due to the lack of a suitable candidate or is there undue lobbying and pressure being placed on the selection? Whichever the reason (and both are cause for concern), the continued lack of competent leadership at the SABC is deepening the crisis of an organisation already in trouble and debt.

In addition, the strategy to not renew contracts of staff members – no matter what skills or position they hold, is denuding the SABC of crucial skills and talent. Further, it perpetuates operational inefficiencies as existing staff members are required to work outside their areas of expertise. Strong leadership needs to identify competent staff, find mechanisms to keep them with the organisation and let go of the dead wood.

The independent television production sector, already decimated by the crisis of 2010, struggles for survival as the promised and vital RFP’s for television content have been delayed for eight months now. The impact of this will be felt soon, as there is less and less new content available to broadcast.

The turnaround strategy developed by Deloitte Consulting has been designed without any input from the production industry, its main supplier and a key stakeholder. We understand the strategy is to be presented to the staff later this month. It is absurd that consultants are devising a turnaround strategy without broad industry consultation.

Have no lessons been learnt from the past 4 years? The independent production sector provides the SABC with its greatest revenue drivers and sits at the core of its business – the creation of content.

The independent production sector believes that the appointment of the right GCEO - someone with the skills and vision to manage this huge and troubled organisation - is critical for the SABC's survival.

We call on the incumbent SABC Board to do this with transparency and efficiency, remaining mindful of the great responsibility that it bears toward the South African public. We support the SOS's call for the release of the Minutes of the Board Meeting which the Minister attended, and for the changes to the Articles of Association to be made public.

Our society desperately needs the SABC to fulfill its key mandate in providing excellent programming for South Africans, which informs, educates and entertains. This mandate is entrenched in our laws and is essential to the health of both our society and our democracy. It is a mandate which transcends narrow political interests. We urge all stakeholders to respect this.

For further information please contact Sulona Reddy at 083 708 9600 or
sulona@iafrica.com

1 comment:

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