Former Chief Operating Officer at the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said the 90 percent policy he initiated at the public broadcaster was informed by the needs of the people.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Motsoeneng explained that the primary objective of the SABC was to promote local content – a mandate that he does not believe was being fulfilled before he took over.
He said the changes he was implementing at the SABC were necessary and that they are still necessary. He also said the notion that the local content policy was responsible for a decline in viewership was bogus.
“I have seen here, where people have been saying, the audience are going down (because of the local content policy), I want to know, how much, and who did research?” said Motsoeneng.
“Because, you see, in the broadcasting environment every time you have audience going up and down. I have checked the research where they are saying ‘because of local content the SABC did not do well’, and when I checked it is one percent, two percent,” added Motsoeneng.
“How can you cry about two percent, one percent? But the issue is not about 90 percent. The issue, it may be because of the format that the SABC is using. the quality of music that they are putting on air. So, it can’t be because of 90 percent local content,” added Motsoeneng.
Motsoeneng said it could no longer be that local acting and musical talent be overlooked, for acts from overseas. He said local stories needed to be told by locals, and heard by locals.
“That notion is misleading. but I want to say to you, in South Africa, we have people with amazing talent. We have people who are better than those musicians outside this country, and we must promote our own musicians,” explained Motsoeneng.
“When you read the broadcasting act, I am not a lecturer, I am not going to lecture you here. But you need to go and read the role of the SABC is to promote local content. It is to promote production houses in South Africa.
“So you can’t have the Bold and the Beautiful, from outside this country, when you have writers in this country. You have creative people who can write their own stories and talk about their own culture and tradition in South Africa.
“So, when we came with this 90 percent, we were informed by the needs of people.”