Bat­tle to save SABC

CityPress - - News - CHARL BLIGNAUT charl.blignaut@city­press.co.za

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.”

Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng

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