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How Hlaudi Motsoeneng's 90 Percent Local Content Quota Makes Him Just Another Type Of Zuma

Opportunists feed on popularism much like a fellow who claims to be victimised by everyone.

07/06/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 07/06/2017 09:29 SAST
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We are in the age of populism and that much is very clear. It would seem that the intellect of the South African public is on the operation table, disfigured by the all-time lows they have been subjected to. When it is perceived that there is no lower than the one experienced, the ingenuity of populism found new ground to dig an even deeper low. This era was ushered upon us by none other than the ruling party and the electorate who endorsed the Presidency of Jacob Zuma for two terms. Populism will produce after its kind, and as such, it is not surprising to have the 'types of Zuma' heading strategic institutions in the country.

One such 'type of Zuma' has to be Hlaudi Motsoeneng, a populist at heart. He could be the most daring and ultimate populist, in fact, President Zuma could be a 'type of Hlaudi'. Opportunists feed on popularism much like a fellow who claims to be victimised by everyone. The ability to make a case of one stakeholder to the alienation of the rest is the building block for a serious populist. An opportunist should be seen to be doing something bold and brave, like the implementation of the 90 percent local music and local productions quotas on all SABC platforms.

Decisions like these have the currency to purchase the goodwill and sympathy of the masses, the by-product of such a move is that the likes of Hlaudi become metaphors of the artists' wellness. They are the symbols of the artists' struggle, they become beyond reproach, and they are elevated to be the holy grail of the South African Music Industry. Their actions are ratified and should be without any consequences thus seeking to hold the populist to account is seen as an attack on the Industry.

The cause of the artists changes its tune to one that seeks to protect these symbols at all costs. They have not just become the symbol of local music, they have also become the very material of the artist struggle.

Populism is the courage of those who lack the substance to guide institutions like the SABC to fulfil their mandates, the inability to galvanise strategically on issues critical to these institutions is hidden behind the populist view and action. The impoverished acumen of those at the helm of important institutions like that of the SABC has landed the country in a cultural conflict.

The inability to successfully implement important decisions like the one taken to prioritise local music has the impact making a mockery of the very artists they are supposed to benefit. Unfortunately, it reduces the local music into a charity case because of the presumed lack of profitability that will now be associated with it. Somehow, the naysayers can claim with some authority that local is not so lekker after all.

Those who have implemented such a policy have failed to model it in such a way that this product is able to benefit other industries and stakeholders, this would make a strong business case. Unfortunately, the narrative is doubtful as to whether local content can be the catalyst for a sound Radio and TV business model. This failure also paints a misleading picture of a severe rejection of local content by South Africans in general.

Opportunists by nature thrive on those who lack some objectivity, they will pronounce their chaotic sense of practicality to defeat due processes simply because they have poked the elephant in the room a few times.

The custodians, trustees and beneficiaries of the different industries should reject such policies when it does not address issues objectively. The failure to do such leaves the industries conflicted. The cumbersome tact of the opportunist is their ability to create a moral dilemma for all and sundry. Promoting local music is good, but it is still an implementation that will need some foresight and would have to be implemented strategically.

Quotas are implemented to correct some imbalances, normally done in a slight window of opportunity. In most cases, you have one opportunity to implement and it should be done correctly. The failure to implement successfully suggests all sorts of ulterior motives such as looting and popularism is chief amongst these.

One would have thought that protecting the SABC from falling into a pit of financial loss and avoiding the risks of falling short of its constitutional mandate would be of prime importance to artists and producers alike.

The moral dilemma is the fact that one can gamble with the whole institution as if it were his in-house kindergarten and those defrauded of reputation turn out in defence of the fraudster. For instance, the musicians should be demanding serious answers from the likes of Hlaudi, it is their "craft" that is being turned into a scapegoat of bad management. It is the artists that should seek the likes of Hlaudi to account but they have hoisted him up on their shoulders as a "saviour".

One would have thought that protecting the SABC from falling into a pit of financial loss and avoiding the risks of falling short of its constitutional mandate would be of prime importance to artists and producers alike.

An intervention could have created a winning scenario to all concerned, instead, this dilemma has created victors and losers. It seems that the losers may be the entertainment industry because the noble custodian (artists) thereof may lack the sympathy of the consumer who may not distinguish between the inept management of the likes of Hlaudi.

This is the doing of a cunning opportunist who will use a populist propaganda to inflict some conflict upon a people so that those who should speak from some moral compass lose that authority in all regard, and prioritise the populist cause at the expense of all morality.