Battle to save SABC
The SABC interim board is facing an uphill battle to haul the public broadcaster out of a financial crisis. Sources say that the interim board, which has broken into subcommittees, is working on a turnaround strategy while dealing with critical financial matters. A source said: “The SABC will need a loan guarantee from government. The board has already met with the new communications minister [Ayanda Dlodlo] a few times.
“She has set up a technical task team between communications, Treasury and the SABC. They are looking at the loan guarantee.”
During its 2009 crisis, the SABC secured a R1.47 billion guarantee, but two well-placed senior SABC sources have told City Press that the crisis is worse this year. “They need at least R3 billion and they need to reverse Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s local content decisions from last year, otherwise we’ll be back [in a state of crisis] in a year,” said one.
Sources say the reasons such a huge bail out is required include plummeting advertising revenue and viewership due to schedule changes ordered by SABC boss Motsoeneng’s unilateral decision to increase local content to 80% on TV and 90% on radio; the cost of running SABC’s contested news channel on DStv; Motsoeneng’s insistence on new appointments; Motsoeneng spending R1.2 billion to secure sports rights for TV; as well as commitments to events with Guptaowned newspaper, The New Age. “No amount has been attached to the loan guarantee talks yet,” said a senior source. “But April salaries will definitely be paid.”
The SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed this saying: “We are dealing with all financial matters on every level.”