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MBABANE – The Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS) could be privatised before the end of 2015.

An amalgamation of the Swaziland Television Authority (STVA), a parastatal that operates Swazi TV and SBIS is expected to go through.
The new operation will be known as a public broadcaster and manage all state-owned radio and television operations in the country.

Dumisani Ndlangamandla, Minister of Information Communication and Technology, says government envisages that the new company would function as a private entity, more like a parastatal.
The new converged broadcasting service would be known as the Swaziland Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).
Currently, SBIS is a government department under Ndlangamandla’s ministry while Swazi TV is already a public enterprise.

Ndlangamandla said the entity would function more like the South Africa’s South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the public broadcaster that provides 19 radio stations (AM/FM) as well as 4 television stations.
The minister said the new company would be headed by a single chief executive officer (CEO) and one board of directors.

SBIS is currently headed by Director Martin Dlamini, a former television staffer, while STVA has a Chief Executive Officer in Bongani ‘Sgcokosiyancinca’ Dlamini.
Ironically, the latter CEO also has vast experience in radio broadcasting, after having previously worked at the national radio station for many years before he was appointed CEO of Swazi TV.

Meanwhile, Ndlangamandla said it was expected that the operation would provide maximum availability of broadcasting to the people through the three-tier system of public, commercial and community broadcasting services.
The SBC would provide public, commercial and community radio or television services.
The minister said the finalisation of the process for merging the two stations was at an advanced stage. He said it could be concluded anytime, depending on funds. “We are presently drafting regulations that would guide operations in the entity,” he said.

Ndlangamandla said the aim behind the move was to come up with one entity that would be well supported by government. He said it would be easy and cheaper for government to support the new entity because it would have one strategy and operate under one management.

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