CAPE TOWN — The SABC is lying over claims to have secured Bafana Bafana TV rights to show any national team soccer games on television and no valid contract with the SABC exists, pay-TV operator Siyaya TV and Safa say.
In a joint statement, the South African Football Association (Safa) and Siyaya TV, the new pay-TV consortium, said the SABC is lying.
It comes after the public broadcaster’s famously matricless and highly controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng on Wednesday said the SABC and SafA have reached a three-year agreement over the broadcasting rights to show all local Bafana Bafana games, Banyana Banyana, as well as the men’s under-20 and under-23 games.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng went on SABC2’s Morning Live on Wednesday to announce the deal — which Siyaya TV and Safa say doesn’t exist.
Siyaya TV, which got its pay-TV licence from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in November 2014, now threatens to sue the SABC if for instance the Banyana 2016 Olympic qualifying game on Sunday against Gabon is broadcast.
Siyaya TV owns the rights to all of the national soccer games after the consortium last year signed a R1 billion contract with Safa in a six-year deal and says it’s actually busy negotiating with Sabido’s free-to-air commercial TV channel e.tv to show the national soccer games.
After Hlaudi Motsoeneng bragged on Morning Live over securing the rights, the SABC also issued a press statement in which it said the SABC’s agreement to show Bafana and other national team games will run from 2015 to 2017, with the SABC giving soccer-loving South Africans “an opportunity to see their national teams in action”.
In a joint statement from Safa and Siyaya TV, the two organisations say “Safa wishes to place on record that Siyaya TV is and will remain a long-term strategic broadcast partner of Safa. We emphatically reject any speculation or statements to the contrary.”
In a separate statement, Siyaya TV’s founder Aubrey Tau launched a scathing attack on the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s claims, saying the public broadcaster is lying over having any broadcasting rights.
Tau says Siyaya TV approached the SABC two months ago in order to discuss the granting of free-to-air broadcasting rights to the SABC, but that Siyaya TV was “summarily rejected by the SABC who refused to deal with Siyaya TV on the matter”.