South Africa: Public Broadcaster Drives Non-Core Assets Disposals Despite Community Backlash
In South Africa, the public service broadcaster - SABC has announced it is going ahead with its planned disposal of non-core assets, including real estate properties in the country's North West's capital, Mahikeng. This is according to news reporting seen by Broadcast Media Africa (BMA).
Although the community is enraged, the SABC has highlighted that the disposition of these assets is part of their turnaround strategy. However, the community believes that they should have been consulted before the properties were listed for auction.
Khumalo Molefe, SANCO's Regional Secretary, claimed that the public broadcaster needs to follow proper processes when disposing of the assets. Molefe highlighted that according to the PFMA, there needs to be public participation prior to any disposition of public property. Molefe also brought to light that SABC employees are staying at these properties, and they were not given the right of refusal. The entire process is unlawful, said Molefe.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Gago Mathe said the residents of Mahikeng have not failed in purchasing; however, preference was not afforded to them. He further said that the community needs to be engaged in this process as the citizens of Mafikeng.
In response, the SABC Spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the SABC would continue with its planned auction in May 2021. The decision is in line with Section 52-d of the Public Finance Management Act, which speaks to the disposal of non-core assets. Therefore, the SABC will hold a public auction to ensure a fair and transparent process as part of the recommendations of the process.
Community members led a march to the SABC provincial headquarters to pressurise management to concede to their demands. The community has vowed to remain at the SABC flats and houses until the SABC gives residents preference in the sale of the properties.