According to SABC insiders City Press has reportedly spoken to, operating practices at the public broadcaster introduced by former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng have left it staring financial ruin in the face.
The paper reports that no new TV shows are apparently being produced and staff fear they may not be paid this month. A finance insider reportedly said the broadcaster was dipping into its reserves and their current problems could turn out to be worse than those in 2008, which required a huge bailout.
The SABC’s spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, however, denied there was any crisis and said all salaries would be paid. He admitted, though, that “our reserves are down”. He had earlier in the week blamed the organisation’s money woes on the world economy, competitors in the media space, lack of government support and parliament’s inquiry into the SABC’s affairs.
He denied that no new shows are now in the pipeline and that TV channel SABC3 is not doing well enough to survive.
Kganyago said they would be showcasing new content as early as next week.
City Press’ sources claim the SABC is faced with a huge staff bill due to Motsoeneng’s “drive” to make freelancers permanent, leading to people being on the payroll who don’t necessarily have the skills to be moved to other areas of the business where staff are urgently required.
All vacancies have been frozen, which Kganyago said was so that more of the people “in the building” could have their skills “utilised fully” because “the wage bill is already more than it should be”.
A union leader told the paper that the broadcaster could expect to face numerous CCMA cases if they attempted to reduce their staff complement.
A new interim SABC board was recently appointed after the previous board’s sole surviving member, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, finally quit at the end of last year.
There has been a great deal of speculation that Motsoeneng may be heading to parliament as an ANC MP, and will perhaps become a minister in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.
The courts upheld a ruling that he should not hold any executive position at the public broadcaster.