What is the SABC’s role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup?
The role is very simple. We bid (for) and won the rights to being the official broadcaster for 2010 (the FIFA World Cup) and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. When we were awarded the rights, we looked into our strategy as an organisation and we said: Is it an event that allows us to fulfil our vision of broadcasting for citizen empowerment? We also looked at what the World Cup means for the continent. (As a result) we have identified projects that (position) this World Cup as an African World Cup: Africa is a theatre and South Africa is a stage where the World Cup takes place.
What is the SABC’s budget for 2010 related projects (see box)?
We have put aside R8-million for the next fiscal year and I’m tasked with making up the difference from alternative sources.
What are the SABC’s 2010 plans on the broadcasting front?
As the official broadcaster, we will be bringing the games exclusively and live to all South Africans.
We are going to be broadcasting these matches live on SABC1 and by then we’ll also have a 24-hour channel, on which the spill-over content will be broadcast (as part of the digital terrestrial television bouquet).
We will also be broadcasting these games live on Radio 2000, because we’ve positioned the station as the official 2010 radio station.
As part of our strategy, we’re committed to delivering a high-quality product. We are making sure that in terms of technology we are improving and increasing our capacity to broadcast in HD (high definition).
What has been your biggest World Cup challenge to date?
The incorporation of broadcast infrastructure into the stadiums has been a challenge.
But the major challenge is getting South Africans to understand and to be passionate about the World Cup and the fact that we are hosting an event that is bigger than the Olympics. The LOC (Local Organising Committee) always talks about the hardware (how far are we with the stadiums, transport, crime etc.). There is no message being put forward that is about the hearts and minds of ordinary South Africans.
My concern is – and it’s a challenge that I worry about every night: What role are we playing as the SABC to make sure that South Africans understand the magnitude of the event we are about to host.
SABC World Cup projects
The public broadcaster’s 2010 projects include:
• The SABC plans, over the next two years, to invest close on R10-million in public viewing areas;
• A film – aimed for commercial release in 2009-2010 – on the life of “Ace” Ntsoelengoe, and a related musical;
• A project that aims to ensure that every South African has a (South African) flag by 2010;
• A project aimed at providing access to radio to 3- to 5-million people currently lacking access;
• Plans to commission programming about issues such as xenophobia and racism; and on how to be a good World Cup host;
• My 2010 School Adventure: schools “adopt” a participating country and learn about that country’s food, anthem, etc.;
• A greening project; and
• A project aimed at maintaining peace across the continent during the World Cup.
- This Q & A first appeared in The Media magazine (February 2009)