PARLIAMENT - The cash-strapped SABC last year spent R3 million on its company choir with a complement of 40 singers, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said in a writtern reply to a parliamentary question released on Friday.
The choir, which has been in existence since 1997, was composed of 25 staff at the public broadcaster and 15 freelancers who earned R10,000 a month, according to the minister.
It performed at memorial services and events related to the SABC.
Muthambi confirmed that the choir once was sang “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” ( “Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you”) to the SABC’s chief operating officer but added “this verse was spontaneous and was not composed by the subject of the verse, nor was it composed under his direction/ and or influence”.
The minister was responding to question by the Democratic Alliance, who called for the choir to be disbanded immediately to cut costs.
“The fact is that the SABC cannot afford unnecessary extravagances such as its own choir,” said DA MP Gavin Davis. He cited internal company documents that suggested the SABC was facing a financial loss of some R500 million this year.