Africa Cup of Nations qualifier might not make it onto SABC on Saturday
The embattled SABC owes the South African Football Association R50m, and unless it gets at least a third of that, fans won’t get to watch Bafana Bafana play Libya
The SABC has until Friday to pay a portion of the R50m it owes to the South African Football Association (Safa) or the nation’s soccer lovers could face a blackout of Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Bafana Bafana and Libya.
Safa president Danny Jordaan met members of the SABC board on Wednesday night in a bid to find common ground as the contractual agreement between the two parties ended in April.
Insiders in both camps told TimesLIVE that the crunch qualifier at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium will only be broadcast on television and radio on condition that the SABC pays a third of the R50m it owes from the previous financial year. The two parties have had a stand-off for months and a new contract is yet to be signed‚ mainly due to the financial crisis at the cash-strapped broadcaster.
Communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane confirmed this week that Treasury has allowed the SABC to take on more debt to ease its current financial woes. But the insiders say Safa officials want certain guarantees before the game can be broadcast as the SABC has failed to honour its financial obligations for several months now.
‘‘The SABC undertook to pay what it owes Safa and only after that amount has been paid will its cameras and equipment be allowed into the Moses Mabhida Stadium‚" the insider said. ‘‘It has until Friday to pay. Failure to do that‚ Safa will be free to speak to other broadcast partners."
The SABC issued a statement on Wednesday saying the game would be broadcast on its platforms, but it seems this is not the case as negotiations have not been concluded.
SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu gave TimesLIVE the run around on Thursday when contacted to confirm whether the match will be broadcast live on SABC television and its radio stations. ‘‘Please give me some time to consult with the other people that are involved in this matter before I can talk to you‚" she said.
Asked to confirm earlier comments attributed to her in the media on Thursday in which she was quoted confirming that the match would be broadcast live on SABC1 and on SABC radio stations‚ Momodu said: ‘‘I’m aware of those quotes but as I’m saying to you right now‚ allow me a little bit of time to consult internally before I communicate. My job as a spokesperson is to consult internally first before I communicate to the outside people."
Momodu had not replied to an e-mail at the time of publishing.
Safa communications head Dominic Chimhavi confirmed that the negotiations are ongoing and nothing has been finalised yet. ‘‘We are in discussion and we hope that a solution will be found for the benefit of the South Africans so that they can enjoy their favourite sport."