According to BMA sources, South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, has drafted a new policy document which calls for an end to exclusive broadcasting access to national sports events.
Should the new policy be approved, national sporting bodies for the Springboks, Proteas, and Bafana Bafana would be prevented from selling broadcasting rights on an exclusive basis.
However, the governing party wants the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to broadcast all the national teams’ games live, which it does not do currently.
According to Nkenke Kekana, ANC Communications Subcommittee Head, the SABC has a constitutional mandate to carry out matches involving national teams to the public. “We want to have a discussion to ensure that sports events of national interests are watched by all South Africans,” Kekana stated.
“Where you have competing interests and rights, ours is to encourage dialogue. However, we cannot let the size of an organisation’s purse determine the people’s rights.”
MultiChoice can often pay for exclusive rights to high-profile rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, and other sporting events, as they have deeper pockets than the SABC, eMedia, and other broadcasters.
Furthermore, SuperSport’s exclusive access to these matches is one of DStv’s major selling points.
In addition, national sporting bodies are able to generate revenue from selling exclusive broadcasting rights.
The ANC’s new policy document, however, does not give details on how its alternative funding plan would work, except to mention that the fiscus should support the public broadcaster.
“The advantages of having a public broadcaster exceed the funding required to deliver public service content. South Africa’s current broadcasting system needs a different funding model,” Kekana added.
The SABC, together with MultiChoice and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), have called for the South African TV licence policy to be scrapped and replaced with a general household media levy.