The SABC is to request Parliament for a huge new injection of money to fund several projects in the pipeline. One of them is a 24-hour news channel, which, according to some reports, could be called News24. Though this seems like some sort of a prank, the SABC has a history of success when it comes to monumental cock-ups. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
The national treasury said the SABC had applied for a R6.9 billion cash injection over the next three years to fund new projects, I-Net Bridge reported.
“Presenting before Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday, national treasury official Avril Halstead broke the application down into R384.33 million in the 2011/12 financial year, R2.026 billion in the 2012/13 year, and R4.52 billion in the 2013/14 financial year,” I-Net Bridge said.
One of the projects to be funded is a new 24-hour news channel, which apparently could be called “News24”. That name already belongs to the biggest online news brand in South Africa. It is a bit unclear how this cock-up came about, because the name seemingly came out of the treasury report to Parliament, and not the SABC itself.
SABC spokesman Kaiser Kganyago declined to name the 24-hour news channel or say when it would be ready. “The last time we did that [put out a timeline for the 24-hour news channel], people came back and said that we had failed because we hadn’t rolled it out before the World Cup. We’ll decide when we’re ready. Once we’ve finalised all that, we’ll decide on the name. It might be that [News24], or it might be something else.”
Geoff Cohen, general manager of 24.com (of which news24.com is a subset) said the reports had caught them by surprise. He said if SABC pressed on with the name, they would have to “consult internally on where we stand from a brand and trademark perspective, and then talk to SABC”.
The other projects needing finance, said Kganyago, are the long-awaited roll out of digital terrestrial television and the servicing of sporting rights. Bizcommunity reported the public broadcaster would be using some of the money to establish a retrenchment package programme that will see staff shrink from 3,800 to 3,000 in three years. DM
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