Understanding the role of the broadcaster in South Africa

Image Credit Pinterest: First T.V. broadcast in South Africa 1975. On the 5th May 1975 the first test broadcast was aired to the public.No matter how boring some items were everybody sat glued to their screens. The fully fledged service commenced on the 5th January 1976

“As a public broadcaster, the SABC has a constitutional duty to uphold freedom of expression and act in the best interest of the South African public – a duty which it is failing to fulfil”

Rebecca Sibanda.


To fully understand the role of the broadcaster anywhere, especially in South Africa, it is quintessential to read and understand what a broadcaster is.

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum, in a one-to-many model.

South Africa is democratic country that has risen from its dark days to become a triumphant state, find itself one of the world’s greatest state of milk and honey for all travelling far and wide looking for a better life of tremendous opportunities.

How we know this, we must give thanks to the public broadcaster for playing a pivotal role in showcasing the ugly, the beauty and the glory of its phoenix like life. The role of the public broadcaster is to produce news worthy content, may it be entertainment or general news, without fear or favour to the left or right wing.

After rising from the ashes of apartheid and propaganda prone media of the regime, South Africa created an Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), which regulated the country’s broadcasting industry, which previously was under the direct control of the government’s Department of Home Affairs. The introduction of a regulator, with constitutionally guaranteed independence, making it a significant leap towards the future of broadcasting.

In the early 2000s, the state of South Africa saw a merger between IBA and the telecommunications regulator the South African Telecommunications Authority (SATRA) to create the now known as the  Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

The media’s independence is the most crucial aspect of it. In order to ensure its independence, the media must conduct is role with its utmost respect to its independence, thus calling for funding from other industries, outside from the government and powerful corporations, and this is where we find the gap for advertising, which is called the advertising media

The advertising media is known as billboards, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and internet by which promotional messages are communicated to the public using words, speech, and pictures.

In South Africa, the media has a gross advertising revenue for South Africa’s broadcasting industry is estimated to have increased in value from just over R2 billion to close to R8.5 billion between 1994 and 2006.

The media in South Africa is very varied. Public broadcasting is provided by the state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), through an annual payment of a TV licence fee.  Free-to-air is provided by commercial broadcaster e.tv and subscription television services. MNet and DStv are provided by Multichoice. In 2007 Icasa issued licences for four new pay-TV providers set to end Multichoice Africa’s monopoly in the pay-TV market, these are: Telkom Media, On Digital Media (ODM), e.sat and Walk on Water Television, as well as incumbent MultiChoice.

In SA Media Facts report for March 2009, OMD Media Direction found that there were 21 daily newspapers, 27 major weeklies, 660 consumer magazines, 735 business-to-business publications, 470 community newspapers and magazines, 92 television stations, 137 radio stations, and over 65 DStv audio channels.

Regarding digital media, there were 10.9 internet users per 100 people, 8.5 personal computers per 100 people and 72.4 cellphone subscribers per 100 people. Web pages indexed by Google were estimated at more than 10 billion.

The Republic of South Africa drew up a broadcasting act (No. 4 of 1999) clearly indicating, regardless of outside countries media, what is expected from media hubs dwelling within the South African borders:

Safeguard and contribute to the democracy of the state of South Africa, development of society, gender equality, nation building, provision of education and strengthening the spiritual and moral fibre of society.

Encourage more media hubs to rise from the ideas of future leaders, ensure a variety of news from entertainment to infotainment. Cater for a broad range of services and specifically for the programming needs in respect of children, women, the youth and the disabled. But more importantly encourage the development of human resources and training, and capacity building within the broadcasting sector especially amongst historically disadvantaged groups.

It is important to note that the broadcaster must provide for the three tier system of public, community and commercial broadcasting services.

There are bodies that are charged with regulating the media, and that duty is entreusted to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). ICASA, a Chapter 9 institute, was established in July 2000 as a merger of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

ICASA falls under schedule 1 of the Public Finance Management Act No 1 of 1999. The mandate is set out in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, Act No 13 of 2000, the Electronic Communications Act, Act No 35 of 2005, as amended, the Postal Services Act No 24 of 1998 and the Broadcasting Act No 4 of 1999 for the regulation of electronic communications, broadcasting and the postal sectors in the public interest.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is the official regulator of the South African communications, broadcasting and postal services sectors.

Developing regulations for these sectors, issuing licences to telecommunications and broadcasting service providers, monitoring licensee compliance with rules and regulations, plan and manage the radio frequency spectrum, and protect consumers against unfair business practices and poor-quality services.

Everything done by ICASA is aimed at ensuring that all people in South Africa have access to basic communication services at affordable prices. In terms of the licence agreements, operators have to roll out services in under-serviced areas and ICASA ensures that licensees contribute to the Universal Service and Access Fund.


As far as journalism goes, it is the most important role, just after government officials and ceo’s. The role of media personnels is one of crucial importance. Many times you find that what is happening shouldn’t happen, yet many are not raising their voice, because they might not know how to go about raising their voice with any sort of injustice.

“The media is the voice of the voiceless”. This also reminds me of the fact that, we are in an age of artificial intelligence, that raises the thought of many jobs will be replaced by robotic workforce, but journalism.

They only way journalism will be replaced, is if they are censored, because a complete removal of journalism is an unideological world where freedom, independence and individuality is no more.

The importance of the media is found even in war times, where ethical journalism is substituted with propaganda, which is a wing of journalism, but one that exists in times of war and oppression.

Journalism is a timeless industry that doesn’t change, but rather changes its tools and mechanisms.


  1. Sibanda, R (2016). Understanding the role of the SABC, available on https://www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/understanding-the-role-of-the-sabc-2044221 (accessed on 28 May 2018)
  2. National Association of broadcasters. Available on http://www.nab.org.za/content/page/broadcast-industry (accessed on 28 May 2018)
  3. Brand South Africa (2007). The media in South Africa. Available on https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/south-africa-fast-facts/media-facts/the-media-in-south-africa (accessed on 28 May 2018)
  4. SABC Broadcasting act, available on http://www.sabc.co.za/sabc/broadcasting-act/ (accessed on 28 May 2018)

You! TokYongYong!!

resonance to myself  I found myself submerged in the inner galaxity of Tokyo 

things were not getting any better from all my previous destinations. it would be the same atmosphere that made me feel like an intruder whenever i would enter these spaces, even when i would greet with the calmest  of respect.

i guess we all are looking for an escape 

i remember a movie that projected the future called, “in Time” by Justin Timberlake, where there is a certain group of people who do not move the same with another group. this was the same in Tokyo,  i always seem to move a bit fast through space and leave a  lingering taste of image in the hearts of many people.  i never understood this until a met the intergalactic traveler called Ali Father Moon, this new character seemed to misplace everything that seemed wrong and all was just organised chaos.

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Tokyo: The Homecoming

Unrelented by : Upenyu Wakanaka

just like New York she was built, just like Paris, she stood tall, just like the Vatican city, she was the center of attention with dragon tatoos

allow me to begin by apologising not only to that one reader who sometimes manages to conjure up the memory of Upenyu Wakanaka Magazine once every blue moon, but to myself first and foremost.

i cannot love what i do if i do not manage to, not only squeeze an hour in between my heavy schedule, but pay attention to my craft(writing), i will not succeed in any of my other ambitions out there, or so i have come to understand that. I’ve been a student of life for so long, i do not even recognise when i should take the ranks from fallen soldiers like Chikapa, or Tete. so this is it. . . . . enough with the technicalities, it’s practicality time, so lets jump back to Tokyo.

that one reader who sometimes manages to conjure up the memory of Upenyu Wakanaka Magazine

Tokyo, my beloved Tokyo, never shall a weep because of you

bright majestic lights, bedazzling glitz and glamour, sweeping gentle sea-breeze, sweeping the night til light, makeshift mindset, with sleepless night,

Tokyo, my beloved Tokyo, never shall a weep, because of you.

just like New York she was built, just like Paris, she stood tall, just like the Vatican city, she was the center of attention with dragon tattoos, and forever concrete, you are the star of the coast.

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Plastic Images of Humans

By :Upenyu Wakanaka

The event was presented as it was seen as an issue that should be confronted by society at large.

Perros sat on a chair in a pure white room, silently and still, she allowed people to take pictures of her and didn’t flinch, not even for a second.

“[WO]mannequin is a continuing exploration and confrontation of the role my own political body, and the bodies of others, play within the carcass of South African society today. Like ghosts from the past and mirrors of the present – the mannequin has come to represent the border between life and death, between participant and observer, between body and commodity and the destruction and re-construction of humanity and self”. Expressed Robyn Perros in her photography exhibition at The Other Room on Friday the 5th of May 2017.

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Mlazi Milano

Released on the 23rd of December 2016, Mlazi Milano is the debut album of Smiso Zwane also known as Okmalumkoolkat. Born in Umlazi, P section and later relocated to Bonela and growing up there.

You could say he is the saviour of a lost society digging themselves a deeper grave than the one their missionaries dug for them to mine minerals

Mlazi Milano has a total of 17 songs with “GQI” its leading single, featuring Amadando from Lamontville township and produced by Rude Boyz, gqom music producers from Mt. Moriah. Okmalumkoolkat is best known for popularising the famous dance genre from Durban and mixing it to his preference and internationalising as he is signed to an international record label and also tours the world as DJ ZharpZharp, playing gqom music to the boxed-in European music enthusiasts who are open to new music and has been proof that the world is open to genre of music brewed by Durban nites from townships all around Durban.

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Seems like its Simmy Sims, at it!

its not new term in the game, Hustle! is the word that is always accompanied with the come up kids and once again, is evident that, it is a term most effective and affective in the rap scene.19 year old Simmy Sims, or Simphiwe mthembu best know by his peers, is on the come up and is looking at those in the rap scene like it is lunch time. Not a club artist who makes music of the club but a musician whom you would much oblige to sit down and listen to on the earphone after a long day and would just encourage you to work harder and he follows the mottoes;YOU ONLY LIVE ONCEeverything happens for a reasonI want to eat with people i starve with (logik)the young musician from Eskhawini, north of Durban said “i came to Durban with a mix-tape and was promised rainbows and butterflies” has now come to realise that only you can do what you want done, and people will only compliment.Simmy Sims is a student studying Fine Art and does music to fill up his time and does not focus on anything else. at the age of 10 he saw that he has the ability of creating nothing into something.he started off listening to Hip hop as a younging and has gone on to listen to musicians like Lupe Fiasco and J.Cole to name a few. he does not only rap but is also vocally influenced by artists like The Weeknd, Tory Lanez and Bryston Tiller, so he does not regard himself as a rapper but a simple musician.he says that the biggest obstacle he has encountered is finding his sound and having to do everything himself, because upon his arrival to Durban, straight out of John Ross College, he took his already done mixtape, Living In My Head, to well-known artists like rapper Zakwe and producer, Ngane, and was well complimented but never received the help he needed so he would grow in the hip hop scene.Living In My head has 1000 download in 1 night and grew gradually, it had 22 tracks and Hustle was the first track that has a video, but says he is dropping a E.P titled The Weekend with a total of six tracks.he is also available on social media;Facebook – Simphiwe MthembuTwitter – @iamsimmysimsSoundcloud – iamsimmysims.needless to say that he was on winner of artist of the day on Slikour Online, with all these to meditate to we know Simmy Sims is going to blow up as he is mastering two forms of art in one go. we wish this artist all the best for the future.

Source: Seems like its Simmy Sims, at it!