SABC and Safa close to a deal to end Bafana blackout

11 October 2019 - 14:57
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
The SABC group chief executive Madoda Mxakwe says a new deal with Safa is close.
Image: Robbie Tshabalala The SABC group chief executive Madoda Mxakwe says a new deal with Safa is close.

The SABC’s group chief executive‚ Madoda Mxakwe‚ has confirmed that the public brodcaster is finalising “a couple of things” with Safa regarding a broadcast deal for Bafana Bafana‚ Banyana Banyana and the other national football teams.

Mxakwe said the long overdue deal could be signed off by the two parties in the coming three to four weeks.

The SA Football Association’s (Safa) broadcast agreement with the cash-strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) expired in April last year.

National team matches played at home have disappeared off the screens as the public broadcaster tried to come to grips with crippling financial losses and debt.

“We have been engaging with Safa for months now and I am glad to announce that we are in the process of finalising a couple of things.

"We will be coming back to announce a fully-fledged partnership and hopefully in the three to four weeks‚” Mxakwe said on Friday.

“It’s an all-inclusive engagement we have been having because it looks at the senior women‚ men and all the other junior and senior national teams.

"I would not want to get into the details but suffice to say there is a commitment as the public broadcaster to ensure that we broadcast the sports of national interest.

“But that needs to be balanced with the commercial viability and whether some of these contracts makes business sense to the SABC.

"We are working on a strategy on sports rights acquisition‚ where we are balancing the public mandate as well financial viability of the institution.

“If you look at radio‚ on any given week we reach lots of listeners and all of those sports rights that we are negotiating are for TV‚ radio and digital.”

Mxakwe added that the SABC are engaging with relevant stakeholders to bring rugby back to the national broadcaster.

“We have always said as the SABC that we fully understand the role we need to play in broadcasting sports of national important and rugby is part of those‚” he said.

“However‚ we need to ensure that we get into commercially viable agreements. In fulfilling public mandate‚ we need to balance it with financial viability of the institution. We are engaging and hopefully we may be able to reach an agreement.”