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Thread: S Nyanda on Public Service Broadcasting Bill

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    Administrator I Robot's Avatar
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    S Nyanda on Public Service Broadcasting Bill

    Minister of Communications on claims around the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill

    19 January 2010

    The Minister of Communications rejects persistent claims by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the proposed draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill would give him unprecedented authority over the public broadcaster.

    Not only are these claims baseless and unfounded, they also have the potential to mislead the people of this country.

    The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has both a board of directors and a group executive responsible for managing the public broadcaster. I have full confidence in both the board and executive management of the SABC to steer the crucial national asset towards the right direction and take it to greater heights.

    I also fully understand the Constitutional imperative that prescribes and guarantees freedom of the media and I have no intention of undermining that principle by "interfering" with the day-to-day running of the public broadcaster.

    I also wish to dismiss the claim by the DA that the proposed tax of not more than one percent to go towards the proposed public service broadcast fund is unconstitutional.

    I wish to place it on record that this issue has been raised with National Treasury to inform the Minister of Finance about the draft bill and its implications to his department.

    Other Ministers whose departments are affected by certain aspects of the draft bill would have an opportunity to comment on these issues when the draft bill is tabled in Cabinet.

    My ministry would like to extend its sincere appreciation to all those who took advantage of the opportunity provided to them to participate in the process of reshaping our public broadcasting services. We are looking forward to digesting your comments and inputs to the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill.

    The comments will now be consolidated into the draft bill and be sent to Cabinet for discussion after which the draft will be sent to Parliament for further discussion and be subjected to public hearings. The public would therefore have another opportunity to give their views about the draft bill before it is passed into law.

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    Last edited by Dave A; 20-Jan-10 at 10:31 AM.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I believe this tax is proposed to be one percent of annual income for individuals. Surely that's going to add up to substantially more than SABC is getting out of licence fees at the moment.

    I'm also interested in how they plan to collect it.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    and will everyone in the household pay 1 %?

    what if you dont own a TV? this was the joke when they came to repossess my furniture because i hadnt paid my tv license...i didnt own a tv...so i told the sherriff to attach the tv which he couldnt find...i had to still go to the police station and fill out an affidavid to give to the sheriff saying i didnt own a tv.

    lets say for example between my wife and a i we earn R500 000...per anum you telling me my TV license is gona cost R5000.00...i wouldnt put it past this goverment to pass this...they have had to pay out a huge bail out for the sabc...its one way of getting their money back...because i cant see the sabc turning around any time soon.

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    and on a brighter note... something for all you durbanites...

    Oh, eTekwini! Rotten like everything else.
    ---



    Subject: HOW TO DO BUSINESS IN THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA




    Read Carefully and Weep


    In the new South Africa, to qualify as a Doctor, you are required to study and pass exams for five years and then do a two year internship at a hospital. You are then fully qualified, but you still cannot practise because the Medical Council will not grant you a license until you have completed two years "community service" in one of the state hospitals. The Department of Health decides where you should be posted for your two years of community service - it can be to any state hospital in the country. The reason for this is that there is a critical shortage of doctors in South Africa, particularly in the rural areas. These trained and qualified doctors earn just over R7000 per month, before deductions - about R2000 a month less than a police constable with three weeks training...

    The Doctors went on strike because the Department of Health promised them an "Occupation Specific Dispensation", which would have effectively doubled their salaries, just over two years ago. Unfortunately they have still not received the "Occupation Specific Dispensation" after two years because the Department of Health can't figure out how to implement the administration of it...

    Meanwhile, despite the chronic shortage of Doctors, the thousands of them that went on strike to voice their dissatisfaction have all been fired. They are now in a catch 22 situation. They cannot get a license to practise, because they haven't completed two years internship, and they can't complete their internship because they have been fired. Naturally they do what any sane doctor would do under the circumstances - they leave the country and practise happily as good, well-trained, productive doctors in some foreign land - where they earn a salary commensurate with their qualifications.

    Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the public bus service in Durban has closed down, leaving thousands of daily commuters with no way to get to work or home again. It has closed because it is insolvent. How on earth did that happen?

    The public bus service was run and operated by the city municipality from 1912 until 2007. It did receive subsidies from the City, but these were recovered from the Government and not from the ratepayers. In essence the public transport system ran at a profit sufficient for it to replace its own vehicles as needed.

    In 2007 the City Council decided that it was illegal for them to operate the public transport under the new Constitution - it had to be run and operated privately by someone from the previously disadvantaged community. The City Manager, Dr Mike Sutcliffe, then sold the public transport operation to a private company named Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd for R70 million. This sum also included the route operating licenses and all the vehicles, equipment and buildings in Alice Street where the buses were garaged, serviced and repaired. So far so good.

    Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd immediately sold off the buses, (mostly new vehicles), one by one, to independent "owner-operators" contracted to Remnant Alton. An owner-operator would drive their bus over allocated routes, collect the fares and use the bus garage in Alice Street as a facility for maintaining the bus. They would also buy their spares and diesel from Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd.

    By the end of 2008 most of the buses were in such poor condition they were unsafe. Broken down buses were the order of the day, and the service to commuters was a shambles. Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd approached the City Council for help, and the City Council lent them R40 million at a very low interest rate to restore the bus service. This was in March 2009.

    At the beginning of April 2009 Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd went into liquidation and ceased all operations. The R40 million was "gone", so the City Council seized the company. The 1500 "owner-operators" then took the Council - as the new owners of the business - to the labour court, and won their case. The Council was ordered to compensate them with the same income they would have received had the service continued operating until the end of their contracts. Naturally the R40 million "loan" plus the award to the owner-operators comes out of Council revenue, paid by the ratepayers of Durban.

    Now the Council, who suddenly decide that it is NOT illegal to operate the bus company, spends a fortune on buying new buses and restoring the transport service to its former state. Nobody yet knows what this has cost - the bills are still coming in. But suddenly there is a "whoops". The Council can't run the buses, because it sold the licenses to operate over the routes to Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd. No problem. Just buy them back. Remnant Alton was willing to sell them back to the council, and the council was willing to buy them back. The only teensy weeny problem is that Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd had sold them to its Managing Director (an Indian - how did you know?) and he wanted slightly more for them than what Remnant Alton had originally paid. After tough negotiations the council beat him down to a lower price and bought the route licenses back for R45 million. Yes, that's right. R45 million.

    OK. On the income side, the ratepayers scored R70 million when the bus company was originally sold.

    Now, on the debit side, they have an unrecoverable loan of R40 million, written off
    Plus the cost of restoring the company to a good operating standard - say another R100 million
    Plus the cost of buying the route licenses back - R45 million
    Plus the cost of recompensing the owner-operators - 1500 of them, for four months at R8000 per month each = R48 million (note: more than a doctor earns)

    So the total cost to ratepayers is R233 million less R70 million = R163 million.

    Well, its a lot of money, but at least we will have a working bus service back.

    Now here is the real kicker. The Council says it doesn't have the capacity to operate the bus company, so it will be looking for a private company to operate it in the future - and they have found the perfect candidate.

    Yep. You guessed it. They are GIVING it away, lock, stock and barrel, completely FREE, to.....

    Wait for it......

    Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd.

    I kid you not.

    Now, the Durban (Etekwini) Metro Council is overwhelmingly ANC, and they got VERY upset when a Democratic Alliance Councillor asked if they knew that the Managing Director of Remnant Alton (Pty) Ltd had at some stage in the past been found guilty of fraud, and served time for that offence?

    The response? No, we didn't know that.
    After more questions - Well, actually, the City Manager did know, but is was some time ago, and the "gentleman" concerned had served his time and paid his debt to society, so we didn't think it was important....

    Meanwhile, the buses haven't begun running yet. Nobody has a clue when they will operate again.

    But the citizens of Durban can take solace in learning the new and unpronounceable street names as they walk to and from work, hoping they won't step in the turds and filth, or get mugged. They may even see our City Manager sweep by in his fancy luxury car, with a cavalcade of body guards, as he makes his way to his new luxury penthouse, valued at several million, at the Point Waterfront - smiling as he goes because the area has been declared, BY HIM, as a rates-free zone until 2014. Effectively he is totally unaffected by this huge cock-up. He doesn't even have to pay his share in his rates bill.

    Isn't Africa wonderful? Why don't you rush back here.....

    Send to everyone with an interest in Durban

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I think I need to change the title of this thread to "Getting ripped off!"
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    You'll have to forgive my cynicism, no offence Murdock but this whole affair sounds so farcical it could have come out of one of those junk emails that take great delight in highlighting the shortfalls of the post apartheid administrations and usually at the expense of the real facts. I Googled this till I was blue in the face. Apart from passing references on forums I only found half a dozen news articles that mention the company and none of them tell the story as it is here. Has there been a blanket news ban on this?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    and usually at the expense of the real facts.
    That's the interesting bit in this one. Certainly there are aspects I don't know for sure, and hopefully some feedback will come in to confirm or repudiate. But I'll say this for now - quite a lot of it ties up with what has already been published in mainstream media.

    The doctors - I don't know about them emigrating in droves, but the strike, the failure to impliment the OSD, the dismissals - these be true.

    The buses - undeniably true up to and including the city having to take the service back. And right now there isn't a "municipal" bus service running.

    Anyone who has seen some of what our city manager has got up to over the years will be angry, but not surprised if it's all true. And let's face it - that alone is not the way it should be.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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