Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has played a key role in promoting democracy and social cohesion.

She says with many TV channels and radio stations the broadcaster has, it provides listeners and viewers access to compelling content in their preferred language.

The public broadcaster is celebrating its 85 years of existence.

Following the establishment of the organisation on 1 August 1936, the SABC first broadcast services in English and Afrikaans, which were then the country’s official languages.

The first SABC News radio bulletin went live on 17 July 1950.

Ndabeni-Abrahams says the SABC is striving to do more despite the challenges.

“One of the SABC’s most significant highlights was establishing XK FM radio station in 2000, broadcasting to the Khoi communities of the Northern and the Western Cape. In response to the fast-changing digital environment and to meet consumer demands for news and information the corporation launched its 24-hour channel on 404 which has become a market leader since its inception in 2013.”

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams addresses SABC’s 85th birthday function:

SABC Board Chairperson, Bongumusa Makhathini says the public broadcaster has transformed significantly since it was established. He says today the SABC has new policies that aim to enhance the lives of the general public.

Makhathini says despite the challenges faced by the SABC, the aim is to serve the public with diligence.

“As we look back and acknowledge our history. We should also recognise the many talented people who have worked at the SABC over the decades, who strive to bring us excellence despite the often oppressive political and media environment. Today we celebrate the SABC and its transformation into a national public institution as a national treasure to be protected and nurtured.”

Makhathini addresses SABC’s 85th birthday function: