SABC and Siyaya lock horns

Bongani Zungu of Bafana Bafana challenges Ogu John Ugochukwu of Nigeria during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Nigeria at Mbombela Stadium. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Bongani Zungu of Bafana Bafana challenges Ogu John Ugochukwu of Nigeria during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Nigeria at Mbombela Stadium. Picture Credit: Gallo Images

Simmering tension between pay-TV newcomers Siyaya TV and the SABC is threatening to boil over as the two broadcasters battle over who has the right to televise Bafana Bafana matches.

Incensed Siyaya TV founder Aubrey Tau yesterday accused SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng of being "reckless" after he went on SABC 2's Morning Live and announced that the SABC had reached a three-year agreement with Safa to televise matches of all the country's national teams.

Tau said he was stunned as he watched the television show and he threatened to sue the SABC if the public broadcaster televised the 2016 Olympic qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Gabon on Sunday.

Siyaya owns the rights to all of SA's national teams after signing a six-year broadcast deal worth more than R1-billion with Safa a few months ago.

"The thing is it is surprising that a big corporation like the SABC is being run by somebody who talks as if he has smoked nyaope, with no respect," an irate Tau said.

"He just talks . he must stop his reckless statements. We are warning him, we are not one of those people he can just trample all over."

The pay-TV newcomers were issued a licence by the Independent Communications Authority of SA in November and are only expected to go on air in October. SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago stood his ground and said they had signed an agreement with Safa that did not have anything to do with Siyaya.

He insisted that they did not need permission from Siyaya to confirm their deal with Safa and Sunday's Banyana match would be televised as planned.

"We have not broken any contract with them," Kganyago said. "It has been agreed and I was there when it was signed [on Tuesday night]."

Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble said the SA Football Association's intention was always to ensure that the SABC was not denied access to the national teams, even though the rights were sold to Siyaya.

Tau said they were in the final stages of completing a deal that would see e.tv televising Bafana's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches next month.

Group head of e.tv channels Monde Twala confirmed there was "a deal on the table" they were negotiating with Siyaya.

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