SABC fund­ing re­quest fi­nalised

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS Min­is­ter Ayanda Dlodlo is ex­pected to meet fi­nance coun­ter­part Malusi Gi­gaba this week over a fund­ing re­quest made by the SABC to the Na­tional Trea­sury.

Dlodlo hinted last week that such a meet­ing was likely to take place, af­ter she ap­peared be­fore the com­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio com­mit­tee.

But she is keep­ing the amount re­quested un­der wraps.

“I will re­veal the fig­ure af­ter our dis­cus­sions. It will be done this week, or on Tues­day or Wed­nes­day next week,” Dlodlo said last week when pushed to dis­close the amount re­quested to bail out the pub­lic broad­caster.

The doc­u­ment that was sent to her of­fice by the SABC ap­par­ently had some gaps, which ne­ces­si­tated re­work­ing be­fore be­ing sent to the Na­tional Trea­sury.

An ap­par­ent glar­ing omis­sion was the fund­ing re­quired to en­able the SABC to move from ana­logue to dig­i­tal.

“They did all the work but over­looked the fact that they did not make any con­tin­gency plans for that move. I then asked them to take back the doc­u­ment be­cause it had not prop­erly taken into ac­count the cost of the mi­gra­tion,” Dlodlo said.

“We have worked on that and it has now been fi­nalised. The doc­u­ment will now be taken to Trea­sury to re­quest what­ever funds will as­sist.”

Another pos­si­bil­ity, Dlodlo said, could be an ar­range­ment for a gov­ern­ment-backed guar­an­tee.

She gave an as­sur­ance that the fund­ing re­quest would not af­fect the ser­vice de­liv­ery bud­get that has al­ready been com­mit­ted in the fis­cus.

There were fears the bud­get could be repri­ori­tised to di­vert funds from ser­vice de­liv­ery and used in­stead to bail out the ail­ing SABC.

Last week, the SABC told Par­lia­ment that its fi­nances were “not look­ing so good”.

Act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Tseliso Ral­itabo told par­lia­men­tar­i­ans that the to­tal rev­enue for the fourth quar­ter in 201617 was R1.6 bil­lion, which was down by R353 mil­lion. This was 20% de­cline com­pared with the same quar­ter the pre­vi­ous year.

Ral­itabo also said the SABC’s per­for­mance in the fi­nan­cial year that ended in March showed an op­er­at­ing loss of R509m.

While the SABC has started a process to fill va­cant top posts, Dlodlo is still con­tem­plat­ing bring­ing in a “care­taker” to act as the group chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“I have not dis­carded the pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing in some­one, even from another sta­te­owned en­ter­prise, just to hold the fort,” Dlodlo said.

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