Finance minister flays public protector
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane failed to conduct a diligent investigation in line with her constitutional mandate, reaching conclusions in her Absa/Bankorp report that are “manifestly lacking in logic”, says Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba in a scathing affidavit filed in the High Court in Pretoria.
The SABC is embarking on an aggressive cost-cutting drive that could see it scrapping live coverage of prominent persons’ funerals including politicians, to retain advertising revenue.
The cost-cutting also involves an overall review of how the SABC covers events deemed to be of national importance, while it is also set to renegotiate sports rights — a process that may lead to the cancellation of some of its sports rights.
The unprofitable public broadcaster is compelled through legislation to cover events that are deemed to be of national importance including the funerals of prominent persons, as well as sporting codes of national interest such as football and rugby.
The Treasury is considering the broadcaster’s request for a R3bn guarantee.
In the 2016-17 report tabled in Parliament, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu warned about the SABC’s going-concern status, noting that the broadcaster was commercially insolvent at the end of March.
The SABC posted an after-tax net loss of R977m during the year under review and received an adverse audit opinion.
To tackle future funding requirements and liquidity risk, SABC management had the intention of renegotiating and cancelling some sports rights, the broadcaster said in the annual report.
“The group has commenced implementation of cost-containment measures with adequately designed expenditure prioritisation processes already in place. Management was also exploring means of securing funding by leveraging on the company’s assets.”
However, the broadcaster highlighted in the report that its constrained finances would be felt in the next performance period and major cost-cutting initiatives would affect efforts to improve operational efficiencies and grow audience share.
It said that in consultation with all its television channels, radio stations and other stakeholders, SABC news and current affairs would review its approach to covering events of national importance, with a view to reducing costs while remaining compliant.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said on Thursday that