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Multichoice employing bullying tactics - SABC on deal to broadcast Springboks’ Rugby World Cup matches

Springbok lock RG Snyman goes for the ball during a line-out

The SABC has described Multichoice as guilty of bullying tactics. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Published Sep 8, 2023


South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operation Officer Ian Plaatjie has described Multichoice as guilty of bullying tactics on Friday.

Plaatjie was speaking to journalist Mandy Wiener in an interview on SA radio station 702, about the SABC having to pay Mutlichoice an amount of R38 million for the broadcast rights to show all the Springbok games at the Rugby World Cup.

The SABC reached the agreement with pay TV broadcaster Multichoice on Thursday, just one day before the tournament began.

Plaatjie said that Multichoice has “bullying and huge anti competitive behaviour.”

There were also additional restrictive clauses in the contract which were unfair Plaatjie said. He also called on sponsors spending money on SuperSport to spend it on the SABC instead.

“We will have an audience more than five times what SuperSport will have,” Plaatjie told 702.

On Monday, the SABC were left scurrying to come up with the money to pay Multichoice, as it appeared the matches of the defending champions would not be available to the majority of South Africa.

It meant the SA government were forced to intervene.

A statement from the SA Ministry of Sport Arts and Culture on Monday read: “This morning, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Honourable Zizi Kodwa engaged with Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Honourable Mondli Gungubele, and with SABC Acting CEO Ms Nada Wotshela, SABC COO Mr Ian Plaatjes and SABC Head of Sport Ms Keletso Totlhanyo, on the 2023 Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights matter between the SABC and SuperSport.

“The minister urged the SABC to find a solution to the matter, so that the public broadcaster can be able to fulfil its mandate to cover sport of national interest.”

Kodwa said: “I am concerned at how millions of South Africans may be unable to watch the Rugby World Cup should the SABC not be able to broadcast matches in the tournament. My commitment is to give South Africans access to all sports codes.

The Siya Kolisi-led Springboks play their first RWC Group A game against Scotland on Sunday in Marseille, France. Kick-off is at 5.45pm SA time.


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