The public broadcaster has been urged to sell its own content and not rely on competitors like MultiChoice.

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane responded to questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, responding to how she intended making the Parliamentary channel available on free to air SABC channels.

The Minister says access is already occurring via set top boxes in some areas as well as HD televisions.

Mokonyane says hosting the Parliamentary channel on the MultiChoice platform had been costly for the public broadcaster and this has led to accumulated costs.

She says the contract with MultiChoice was bad as it had no stipulated costs. She also cited other badly signed contracts including those entered into with SAFA and the PSL.

Mokonyane says many contracts are being reviewed, including the one with MultiChoice.

“This Parliamentary Channel is now taken off the pay TV to the Free to Air. And the intention is to ensure that South Africans have access to the proceedings of this parliament.

“The issue of the licenses have got nothing to do with digital migration. What we are working with the SABC on are two things. We need to find a better way of collecting license fees,” Mokonyane added.

DSTV to compensate government

The DA in Parliament wants DSTV to financially compensate government for the profits made through the Parliamentary Channel.

DA MP Marrianne Shinn blames former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng for allegedly driving subscribers to the DSTV Parliamentary Channel to benefit MultiChoice.

Shinn was one of the MPs who posed a question to Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on digital migration and why the Parliamentary Channel is still not on an SABC Free to Air channel for all South African to access it.

“This  Parliamentary Channel on DSTV was part of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s  plan to drive subscribers to the  Platform which profited MultiChoice very much. It was a drive to get people onto these subscription platform. What plans do you  have in place to ensure that DSTV financially compensate the fiscus for the market value of this channel over the years  and to use those funds to give impetus to the failed Digital migration broadcast policy?”Shinn asked.