The SABC choir had cost the public broadcaster R3m in its 2014/2015 financial year, communications minister Faith Muthambi said on Friday.
She was responding to a question from the Democratic Alliance in parliament.
The minister however underplayed the choir singing praises to its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, during a staff meeting, saying it only happened once and without coercion.
During a parliamentary response on Wednesday to DA MP Thembekile Majola’s questions to the minister, Muthambi revealed that for the 2014/2015 financial year an amount of R3m was budgeted for the choir.
This included the monthly R10 000 salary for each of the choirs’ 25 freelancers as well as the entire choir’s travelling costs.
In the reply, Muthambi says the choir was made up of 40 choristers, 25 freelancers and 15 permanent SABC staff members.
In response to whether or not the choir sang songs about Motseoneng during staff meetings, Muthambi confirmed the choir had sung a song praising him, but that it only happened once.
“Only one verse was sung in a single staff meeting with the lyrics “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” [Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you],” she said.
She described the verse as spontaneous and not being composed under Motsoeneng’s direction or influence.
DA MP Gavin Davis called for the choir to be disbanded as a cost-cutting measure.
“The question needs to be asked whether the SABC can justify spending R3m/annum on an in-house choir.
“Surely, it would be cheaper to commission the services of a professional choir if and when the need arises?”
He said the SABC could not afford such unnecessary extravagances.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago was not immediately available for comment. — News24