SABC's Possible Imminent Collapse Due To Non-Payment Of TV Licence
Pinky Kekana, South Africa’s Deputy Communications Minister, has requested that South Africans start paying their TV licenses to save the SABC from complete financial disintegration.
Kekana made her emotional plea on Tuesday, before Parliament’s communications committee. The Deputy Minister said that only 1.8 million people out of a total of nine million account holders are up to date with their licensing fees and this is the main reason for the public broadcaster’s financial troubles.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been experiencing a downfall that has been well documented in recent months. Initially, the blame had been put on the disgraced former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, but now the focus has been turned to a bloated workforce and a defaulting public. Naturally, this is a recipe for disaster which has, in effect, crippled the state-owned enterprise.
The national broadcaster has suffered a loss of R622 million and is battling to pay service providers. The company has an outrageous wage bill of R3.1 and pays R45.5 million in salaries to 40 senior managers. Courteous government bailouts totalling billions of rands are the only thing keeping the SABC afloat.
Kekana has maintained that while company employees are living in fear of losing their jobs, it remains the responsibility of South Africans to keep the broadcaster from crashing by paying TV licenses. The Deputy Minister even argued that a license works out to 72 cents a day, which is a price that is entirely reasonable regarding current value for money.
Kekana has been proven right by recent reports that show that the SABC is owed a massive R25 billion in outstanding licensing fees, yet, South Africans, nonchalantly continue to use the broadcaster as a free-to-view service.
The Deputy Minister’s passionate plea, which has since been covered by South African news entity, EWN, called on South African’s to keep up to date with their license payments or run the risk of stricter penalties, due to be rolled out soon.