Veteran SABC Anchor Easy Matjila Lashes Out At The SABC

They say we all have our limit, I guess veteran Setswana news anchor had reached his when he suddenly lashed out at his employers for what he calls "unfair treatment of the Sesotho, Sepedi and Setswana television news department at the SABC". 

During a Q&A at a summer preview event held by the SABC on Thurdays, 27th November, veteran SABC setswana news anchor Easy Matjila lashed out at the SABC for marginalizing the Setswana, Sepedi and Sesotho television news division.

Matjila pointed out that for the decades that he has been with the national broadcaster, the Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi television news bulletins which airs on SABC2 have been sidelined by the broadcaster. 

His issue with the SABC is apparently the fact that management keeps comparing the division's against each other and Matjila feel that it is an unfair competitive platform as, in his view, the SABC seems to be favouring Nguni news on SABC1. 

He said management compares ratings and use that as a benchmark for excellence but forgets that the channels have a different target audience. 

Where I agreed with him, is when he said that SABC1 news get a huge boost in rating because of the lead in programming. He said, because SABC1 has "fun shows that people want to watch before the news" the channel's news will always pull bigger ratings. 

He suggested that the SABC should consider introducing more youth friendly programs on SABC2 so that Setswana, Sepedi and Sesotho speaking young people who rush to SABC1 could find the other channels appealing. 

In response to Matjila, SABC Group Executive Verona Duwarkah said to a packed room with journalists and media personnels that such issues should be raised internally. Duwarkah agreed that there are challenges in trying to make the 3 television channels of the SABC offer sufficient content across all demographics to the viewers. 

Mr Matjila later reiterated his grievances to me that they [SABC2 Anchors] are expected to perform on the same level with Nguni news but they just do not have the advantages that SABC1 offers its news bulletin. 

Truth be told, I somewhat get where Mr Matjila is coming from. It is hard to ignore the fact that the 18h30 slot and the Generations slot are a huge viewers pull for SABC1 and the SABC in general. With the Nguni news right in the middle of that ratings buffet, it would not be easy to get viewers to change channels just to watch something on SABC2 for 30 minutes and have to come back to SABC1 again. 

I have to admit, it was very apparent that Mr Matjila embarrassed the SABC panel a little bit. One could only wonder what the conversation about this incident was the following day at Auckland Park. 

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