There is a lot to criticise SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng for but sometimes I personally feel that the lynch mob calling for his head often fail to acknowledge the good his brash managerial style has done for the industry.
With my experience in the industry I have seen what I deem as atrocities committed against black creatives in this industry and it hasn't sat well with me for years — the remanence of our apartheid past when blacks were treated like slave labour and being made to think they are being done a favour by being hired to work in this industry.
For the first time in the 22 year since our democracy, one can actually see black creative taking control of their creative input into the industry and are reaping rewards.
For instance, with his 80% push for local content on SABC channels, starting with SABC3, Motsoeneng has insisted that for every production company getting work from the SABC, the black talent used must have some stake in the production leadership.
As a result, some of the faces that you are seeing now on tv are actually not just faces on screens but hold positions behind-the-scenes on the productions they working on. Siv Ngesi is not only the host of the new show on SABC, he is also a producer. Khanyi Mbau is producing the show she hosts with Phat Joe on SABC3 called Weekend Edition and the host of Zaziwa, Pearl Modiadie, is also an associate producer on her show.
Given the insistence of Motsoeneng to have his way be the norm at the national public broadcaster, we are certainly going to see more black talent taking up roles within television productions as not just the on air talent. That can only mean more financial earnings for our creatives and a better future for the industry.
Motsoeneng announced during a live broadcast on Saturday morning that the cash-strapped SABC will give 180 local musicians R50 000 each as a “token of appreciation” from the public broadcaster.
That works out to a whopping R9million in cash. I'm certain those musicians will appreciate the career bonus!
I am not trying to excuse the wrongs that Motsoeneng has committed in his quest to have full control at the SABC with impunity but credit must be given where it is due. For his part in ensuring financial sustainability of our talented creative practitioners, one has to applaud him.