SABC TV more than ready to cover elections: Maseko

By Lerato Matlala

Head of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Television News and Current Affairs Nothando Maseko says the public broadcaster is more than ready to cover the elections.

“We are definitely ready for the elections, actually more than ready, we are excited with our election coverage, we started this morning as you know today was  a special voting day, the machine is already running.”

Maseko says planning to broadcast an event of such magnitude takes months.

“It takes at least a good six months to plan around elections because you are talking about budgets, logistics, setting up editorial teams and this involves a lot of planning not just within SABC, with our outside stakeholders from planning for security arrangements to logistics arrangements, engaging the IEC, securing space for coverage and most importantly we also build sets when you look at our infrastructure, so it takes quite a while, in fact it can take more than six months. “

Since the 2011 Local Government Elections the SABC launched the 24 hour news channel in 2013. This, according to Maseko brings in some changes.

“We have grown as SABC news, now broadcasting for almost 24 hours, our production starts between six and 12 midnight, we have a new channel, the 24 hour channel and our teams are bigger in a sense that we also have to accommodate the increased number of municipalities, the number of municipalities from 2011 to now has increased so there is that kind of challenge that forces us to try and cover as much as we can.”

The SABC work force has been stationed in different areas to cover the event as it unfolds. Maseko says this comes with its challenges.

“ I think just like a new kind of productions you sort of get stage fright , elections are unpredictable, you never know what to really expect, you can predict but you just do not know what is going to pan out. It is both a feeling of excitement, suspense there is a lot of adrenalin rush. Our teams often have to work long hours so we basically have to prepare ourselves psychologically, mentally and physically.”

She says municipal elections are people centered and therefore the spotlight is on service delivery issues.

“What is different about municipal elections is that they are your people’s elections. The stories that often come out of are interesting and force all of us, whether is government or the people to actually focus on what matters, issues of unemployment, health, education, sanitation, equality, and just service delivery often comes out of municipal elections, that is where the focus is, that is what matters to our people. “

There are about 400 staff members at the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Results Centre where most of the action will be happening.

Click below to listen to the interview: 





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