NEWS & ANALYSIS

SABC should broadcast Springbok rugby matches - SACP

Party complains that only those with DSTV subscriptions can currently watch these games

SACP calls for public interest to prevail in live broadcast of rugby and other sports matches and games

The South African Communist Party (SACP) fully supports the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) about the importance of public interest in sports broadcasting, particularly live broadcast of rugby matches. The SACP calls on the South African Rugby Union to give the SABC, our public broadcaster, the right to live television broadcast of Rugby matches, starting with the Saturday, 6 October championship between South Africa and New Zealand scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa. As things stand, only South Africans with subscription to pay DSTV, which is dominated by the monopoly of MultiChoice, a private company, and access to its SuperSport channels can watch live broadcast of rugby matches from their homes.

The apartheid style, class exclusion of the workers and poor is underpinned by the commercialisation of sports, inclusive of the practice of the sale of live broadcast television rights. Corruption has found its way into sports among others in this area. The problem has become widespread, with almost all sports codes encircled by commercial interests concerned only about profit making without regard to public interest.

The SABC also needs to get its house in order. The public broadcaster was previously awarded live television broadcast rights for soccer matches by the Premier Soccer League, but conveyed, through whole sale, the rights to MultiChoice, leading to the workers and poor excluded from the live broadcast of most PSL matches, especially those taking place during the week. There must be an overhaul of the SABC’s broadcasting model and capacity so that the public broadcaster can sustainably deliver on the live broadcast of sport matches and games across all codes. The analogue to digital television broadcast migration should not have been wasted and must not be wasted any further but must be used to build the SABC’s capacity to serve the nation through public broadcasting in sports and other societal activities.

Statement issued by the SACP, 6 October 2017