In the news tonight

Good evening. This is not the SABC news. In keeping with our commitment to promote all aspects of our continent, including its world-famous timekeeping, our cameramen arrived late at all the news happening places, so we don’t have anything recent to tell you. Instead, we will run a repeat of last Monday’s news bulletin. Other than a rising oil price, nothing much has happened in the past few days anyway. Take our word for it. Running repeats is also a way of ensuring that we remain profitable, which is our main goal as a public broadcaster, as we are not obliged to pay for reruns.

Our lead story is about the high turnover of staff at our main rival, e.tv, with many independent-minded journalists leaving the station to take up jobs as spokespeople in various government departments, or at the SABC, which, despite what the white, unpatriotic and disloyal opposition would say, is not the same thing. This floor-crossing period for chequebook journalism will remain open for some time, unlike open time on our other rival, M-Net, which we have helped to shut in the public’s interests so that, as the public broadcaster, we can have access to those advertisers as well.

The minister of labour has lauded the SABC for its handling of staff matters and has urged other companies to do the same in the interests of remaining globally competitive. This comes in the wake of the SABC publicly firing the cameraman who failed to cover the recent booing of the deputy president. The Labour Department stated that informing workers through the media that they have been fired will save on stationery normally used to send letters terminating their services. This will help to improve the SABC’s profitability, if not its service delivery.

The minister of communications today congratulated the SABC on its recent announcement of record profits. The minister said that she was looking forward to a dinner at which some of these profits could be put to good use.

The minister of arts issued a statement commending the SABC for its investment of R1-billion in local content. As the arts are the soul of the nation, he was pleased that they had been booted off the SABC where, despite the country having the largest and most influential creative industries on the continent, there is still no arts news coverage on the public broadcaster’s news bulletins. “This helps the arts to be creative and find other ways of developing audiences and markets,” he said.

The minister of intelligence has agreed to infiltrate e.tv to find out who leaked information to the media about the SABC freelance cameraman who actually did film the booing of the deputy president. In a secret meeting with the SABC board today, the minister agreed that such information is detrimental to the national interest and undermines the right of the public broadcaster to fool the public some of the time.

Now for a look at last week’s sport. In the sprint for advertising revenue, the SABC has beaten its main rivals again. Protests from some quarters that the SABC is on performance-enhancing drugs supplied by government were dismissed by the honourable minister of sport, who said that, in the interests of democracy, it was important that the public broadcaster be heavily supported.

Our weather reporter, Zwelinzima Vavi, says that we can expect a tsunami, particularly off the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, that will unleash a wave of strikes around the country. Hurricane JZ is expected to follow the new deputy president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, wherever she goes, but we will do our best to ensure that you don’t see her getting caught in the storm.

Finally, President Thabo Mbeki has issued a media statement in which he wishes the country’s inhabitants a good night’s sleep. We trust that we have helped.

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