Broadcasting Services

Cash-Strapped SABC Needs R3bn From Government To Avoid Collapse

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board Chair, Bongumusa Makhathini told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts that all the troubled state broadcaster needed was a R3bn ($210 380 310,00 USD) government guarantee to stay on the air and to avoid complete demolition by the end of this financial year.

The board made this announcement to Scopa recently, following a meeting where board member and veteran journalist and editor Mathatha Tsedu told the portfolio committee on finance that the SABC's ability to pay full salaries would be shaky as early as February next year.

Makhathini told Scopa on that thanks to its R1.3bn ($91 228 449,00 USD) debt, the public service broadcaster was having trouble meeting its monthly obligations.
He said that approximately 70% of SABC's total revenue went to wages, whereas this should, in fact, be no more than 50%.
Makhathini said that the SABC approached the South African government for a guarantee over a year ago but, was snubbed by the government who instead, sent it back a letter of approval to go to the banks and borrow the funds.
He said that this solution would not take the SABC out of the woods because its audit outcomes did not make it an attractive prospect for any of the banks, therefore, getting approved for a bank loan was not something that would be possible right now.

The Chairman of the Board said that if the SABC were granted a guarantee, it would use those funds to finance the repayment of its mountains of debt, the procurement of content and also the maintenance of infrastructure.

Members of parliament have reportedly said that before they pay any attention to the matter, they first want answers from the SABC explaining the reasons behind its wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
MPs have given the board one week to put together a list of the people that had been responsible for the SABC’s irregular expenditure.

Following the submission of that list by the SABC, a meeting will be held between the communications ministry and Treasury to try and figure out where the funds to rescue the SABC might have to come from.

Credit: This article originated from www.fin24.com





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