All is set for business television channel CNBC Africa to go live on the first of June, writes Bate Felix.

Trevor Ormerod, CNBC Africa CEO, told that all is ready for the channel to start broadcasting from their Sandton studios in three months.

“The fittings at the offices and studios are in place and ready to go while all key positions have been filled,” said Ormerod.

CNBC Africa recently made headlines when it went on a recruitment spree, poaching top presenters, anchors and journalists from other channels. The SABC seems to have suffered the most in this poaching, losing some of its key and experienced people to the new channel.

Ormerod confirmed that Mandlakazi Mphahlwa, anchor of SABC’s 7pm main news bulletin, Nikiwe Bikitsha, co-host of SAFM’s Morning Live, and Lerato Mbele, host of the 10pm news, have all joined CNBC Africa as anchors. Recently, Peter Ndoro, news presenter at SABC Africa, has also joined as director of corporate communications, and he will also be hosting a general lifestyle programme.

Joining the channel from Johnnic Communications are Bronwyn Nielsen, news anchor at Johncom’s business channel Summit TV, and Gary Alfonso who Summit TV’s head of news and current affairs. Nielsen joins the channel as chief anchor while Alfonso heads programming.

Ormerod said programmes will be anchor-driven. “We have tried to recruit well-informed and experienced people who and not just talking heads,” said Omerod.

The channel will broadcast 9 hours of local programmes, mostly of South African and African business news, with feeds from bureaus in Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Cape Town, and gradually expand to other parts of the continent. They will also take feeds from other CNBC affiliates. 

“Primarily, we will be looking at big business, focusing on elements of business that are of importance,” said Ormerod

 “The news will focus on general business news of significance and in-depth reports, and will also include interviews with top CEOs, politicians and other decision-makers.”

“Weekends will predominantly be lifestyle programmes and there will be no repeats of programmes,” he added.

On June 1, CNBC Africa will go live on DSTV’s channel 54, replacing CNBC Europe. Omerod said the launch will be witnessed by various dignitaries. “We will be having a special 90-minute live debate on the day of the launch,” he added.