The ANC wants to make sweeping changes to sports broadcasting so that everyone, including the poor, can watch national teams compete on live TV confirmed Sunday Times, according to the documents released for public discussion before the ruling party’s policy conference in July.

If enacted, the policy would prevent national sporting bodies for the Springboks, Proteas, and Bafana Bafana from selling broadcasting rights on an exclusive basis.

Instead, the ANC wants the SABC to have the ability to broadcast all these teams’ games live, which it cannot currently do.

ANC communications subcommittee head Nkenke Kekana told Sunday Times the SABC had a constitutional mandate to carry matches involving national teams to the general public.

“As the ANC we are saying, let’s have a discussion to ensure that especially sports of national interests are watched by all South Africans,” Kekana said.

“So where you have competing rights and interests, we encourage dialogue. It cannot be that the size of the purse determines the rights of the people.”

The ANC’s policy document is not the first to propose changes to the sports broadcasting rights framework.

In November 2020, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) published a second draft of its Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations.

A key component of the proposed regulations was a list of sports tournaments that must be free to watch in the public interest.

ICASA argued that research showed only 12.6% of South Africa’s TV viewership used subscription-based broadcasting services.

The table below shows all of the sports which would be available for broadcast “live, delayed-live, or delayed” by free-to-air broadcasting licensees should Icasa’s regulations come into effect.

However, Icasa announced it would relaunch consultations for its inquiry into the Subscription Broadcasting Services Market earlier this month.

The regulator said any market interventions should consider current policy developments and recent technological and market trends, including the entry of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

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