Results from the recent HSRC survey on public trust in both public and private institutions over the period 2003 – 2007, show a consistent high score for public service broadcaster SABC.
The latest study, completed among a representative sample of South Africans older than 16, shows that trust in institutions grew from a low of 47% in 1998 to a high of 63% in 2004, but since plunged back to 1998 levels of mistrust. However, a few institutions managed to hold their ground above 1998 levels. Over the decade, the majority of citizens (81%) have consistently shown their trust of religious institutions, followed by trust in the SABC, which exceeded 70% between 2003 and last year.
“The SABC has a constitutional mandate as a public service broadcaster, to encourage the development of South African expression and to play an important role in shaping the future of South Africa. The public purpose is at the heart of the SABC. The National Public Broadcaster’s mission is to maximse its vision of “Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment’,’ says SABC GCEO: Advocate Dali Mpofu.
“At the same time, Total Citizen Empowerment must be driven through universal access. The SABC in partnership with the Department of Communications and signal distributor Sentech, this week announced the switch-on of low power transmitters in the Western Cape. TV licence payers will be proud to know that these services have been made possible by funding from television licence revenue. The low power transmitters will bring better quality TV and radio reception to some parts of the Karoo and first-time access in others. Areas benefiting from the switch-on include Prince Albert, Nelspoort, Merweville, Leeugamka and Klaarstroom. This is firmly in line with our quest to arm and empower all the citizens with quality information,’ Mpofu continued.
The SABC recently commissioned an independent public values survey, the results of which will be delivered at the SABC Public Values Conference in May. The results of this independent survey reportedly largely validate the findings of the HSRC survey.
Further, the SABC is embarking on a massive mass mobilisation campaign called The Green Revolution. Green is used as a colour symbolising renewal, revitalisation, growth, life, progressive ideas, innovation and positive change. The Green Revolution is premised on three important social drivers (National) UNITY; (Shared) GROWTH and (Sustainable) DEVELOPMENT.
During the period 2 April 2007 – September 2007, on overall local content quotas, SABC TV channels outperformed ICASA mandate requirements (overall local content quotas: 55% for PBS and 35% for PCBS) measured over a full day as well as during prime time. SABC1 averaged 76.52% (full day) and 74.58% (prime time), SABC2 managed a staggering 85.97% local content during prime time and 75.06%, when measured over a full day. SABC3 also outperformed local content quotas, measuring 45.55% ( full day) and 43.27% during prime time.
Whilst investing in programming on the main SABC platforms remain central to the SABC’s public service role, the SABC has also committed to a digital strategy and will extend free-to-air digital terrestrial television services to the South African population. During 2008 a digital revolution will commence as the whole country’s TV reception is switched to digital. Creating a fully digital South Africa is a public challenge which the National Public Broadcaster will and must lead in order to bring the benefits of new technologies to audiences and in so doing strengthen and deepening its public service offering by introducing approximately 10 new channels to cover areas such as sport, news, culture, children, music, history, etc.
From 5 May, the SABC boasts a modern interactive environment for consumers to engage with SABC radio stations. This project includes brand new Metro FM, 5FM and a PBS Radio Studio. All of these studios will be housed in the renovated Radio Park Foyer. The brand new RBF M1 Music Studio will be launched later this year.