Kodwa to mediate in SABC, MultiChoice Rugby World Cup broadcast dispute

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Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, has pledged his commitment to mediating a resolution between the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and pay channel MultiChoice in their ongoing dispute.

This dispute threatens to deprive the broader South African public of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, as the SABC faces challenges in meeting MultiChoice’s reported demand for R38 million.

Kodwa expressed his determination to address the issue promptly, stating, “There’s an issue now between SABC and SuperSport; we must intervene on that issue because the people of South Africa look up to us to intervene on that issue. I am very optimistic based on the discussions we have had that there won’t be any national blackout; that issue will be resolved soon.”

Kodwa says that he has engaged with Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Mondli Gungubele, as well as key SABC executives, including Acting CEO Nada Wotshela, COO Ian Plaatjes, and Head of Sport Keletso Totlhanyo. Kodwa urged the public broadcaster to find a solution to ensure it can fulfill its mandate of covering sports of national interest.

The concern arises from the possibility that millions of South Africans may be unable to watch the Rugby World Cup if the SABC cannot broadcast the tournament’s matches.

MultiChoice currently holds exclusive rights to broadcast all the Rugby World Cup games live in South Africa. These games will be exclusively available on SuperSport Grandstand and rugby channels, which are part of the most expensive DStv package.

This limited availability means that only approximately 1.3 million subscribers in South Africa will have access to the games at home.

Kodwa’s intervention aims to find a resolution that ensures broader access to this highly anticipated sporting event.

2023 Rugby World Cup is closely contested