‘Everyone should be able to watch rugby’, pleads the minister

Henry

Ministers and big heads of the public broadcaster met on Monday after the SABC failed to get a license to broadcast the World Cup rugby tournament.

Supersport confirmed in a statement on Saturday that it could not reach an agreement with the SABC for the sub-licensing of broadcasting rights for this year’s World Cup, reports News24.

This follows months of negotiations between the two parties and means that millions of South Africans, who do not have access to DSTV, will not be able to watch the rugby.

‚ÄúSupersport approached the discussions with the SABC in good faith, which reflects its sincere commitment to the nation’s rugby enthusiasts. He made his best efforts to conclude a fair and commercially viable agreement. Unfortunately, all proposals made by Supersport were rejected by the SABC,” the statement said.

Zizi Kodwa, minister of sports, arts and culture, consequently met on Monday morning with Mondli Gungubele, the minister of communications and digital technology, Nada Wotshela, acting chief executive of the SABC, Ian Plaatjes, the SABC’s chief executive, and Keletso Totlhanyo, SABC’s head of sports, meet to discuss solutions to the issue.

The minister urged the SABC to find a solution, “so that the public broadcaster can fulfill its mandate to cover sports of national interest”.

“I am concerned about how millions of South Africans might not be able to watch the Rugby World Cup if the SABC does not broadcast any matches in the tournament,” says Kodwa.

“My commitment is to give South Africans access to all sporting codes.”

Kodwa says he is hopeful that an agreement will be reached between the SABC and Supersport.

“Rugby plays a critical role in nation building. It is important that millions of South Africans can watch the Springboks continue to uphold our country’s name at the Rugby World Cup.”