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.
Issued by Gavin Davis on behalf of DA, Gavin Davis is DA’s Shadow Minister of Communications