SABC spends R3 million on a choir to sing Hlaudi’s praises
22 May 2015
Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, has revealed in a reply to a parliamentary question that the SABC spends R3 million a year on its own choir.
It was also revealed that the choir has been known to sing songs of praise for SABC Chief Operations Officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng, in staff meetings, with the lyrics “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” (“Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you”).
Minister Muthambi was at pains to emphasise that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had not in any way pressurised the choir to sing his praises. “This verse was spontaneous and was not composed by the subject of the verse nor was it composed under his direction/ and or influence,” she said.
On a more serious note, the question needs to be asked whether the SABC can justify spending R3 million per annum on an in-house choir. Surely, it would be cheaper to commission the services of a professional choir if and when the need arises?
The fact is that the SABC cannot afford unnecessary extravagances such as its own choir. As internal SABC financial documents recently brought to light by the Sunday Times show, the public broadcaster faces a loss of R501 million in this financial year.
The disbandment of the SABC choir should be at the top of the SABC’s list of cost-cutting measures. We call on the SABC to do so without delay.
Text of the reply:
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NUMBER: 855 OF 2015
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20 MARCH 2015
855. Mr T R Majola (DA) to ask the Minister of Communications:
(1) Since the reply to question 2028 on 13 September 2013, is there still a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) choir; if so, (a) is it paid for by the SABC and (b) how much was budgeted for the SABC choir for the 2014-15 financial year;
(2) does the choir sing songs about a certain person (name furnished) during staff meetings; if so, what are the words of the songs? NW1004E
REPLY: MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS
1. (a) The SABC Choir is the property of the SABC established in 1997, the composition of the Choir is made up of 40 Choristers, 25 Freelancers and 15 permanent SABC staff members, performing at memorial services and all other SABC related events.
(b) For the 2014-15 fiscal an amount of R3million was budgeted for the Choir. It includes salaries for Freelancers and travelling costs. Each Freelancer draws a salary of R10 000.00 per month;
2. SABC Choir does not sing songs about the said person during staff meetings as a matter of course;
Only one verse was sung in a single staff meeting with the lyrics “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” ( “Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you”) . This verse was spontaneous and was not composed by the subject of the verse nor was it composed under his direction/ and or influence.
Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, May 22 2015