After Peter Matlare resigned as CEO of SABC in January 2005, the South African pubcaster surprised some by appointing Dali Mpofu as his successor that June. A lawyer, Mpofu has little TV experience, but came to the position with strong management skills – just what the broadcaster needed. The lawyer-turned-broadcasting exec was taking the helm of an internally divided SABC that was gearing up to launch two local language channels and struggling to improve its local production base.
It’s a tough job, but Mpofu seems to be making the right decisions. To reduce the red tape tightly wound around the commissioning process, sabc editors traveled across the country to hear pitches from producers that would be accepted or rejected on the same day. Other initiatives have also been expanded. Last year, SABC invested more than US$150 million in local content, and that commitment is going up. Youth-oriented SABC1 has increased its output of factual programs, and family-targeted SABC2 will broadcast no less than 65% of its primetime schedule in a language other than English. Likewise, SABC3 is adding locally produced series to internationally acquired content such as Weakest Link.