The New Age Media (TNA) made a number of proposals to the SABC in 2011 to outsource some of its news production, but the deals were rebuffed, Parliament’s ad hoc committee heard on Tuesday.
According to submissions to the committee, the Gupta family-owned business confirmed that proposals were made to handle “a variety of areas” in the SABC newsroom to “narrow the urban-rural divide”. The agreements were either never signed or a line managers rejected them.
TNA refuted claims that it ever “instructed” certain SABC employees to sign a newspaper distribution deal for The New Age newspaper.
This was according to TNA’s written responses to evidence former SABC employees gave to Parliament’s ad hoc committee in December.
The group maintained that the costs of the SABC’s hosting the TNA’s breakfasts on Morning Live were split. TNA carried the costs of hosting the events, while the SABC paid for the broadcasting costs, the working document reads.
According to evidence, it cost the SABC at least R1m or more to host just one breakfast, equating to R5m a month, or R60m a year.
The costs the SABC carried included accommodation for production staff, studio time, and outside-broadcast vans.
Initially, TNA said the business briefings project was launched without the SABC and that TNA was managing the entire project using its own resources, the document reads.
The ad hoc committee will continue to look at responses to its interim report on Wednesday.
It will consider responses from Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, and a 140-page response from SABC executives.