South Africa 22.8.2018 12:16 pm

SABC on the verge of total collapse, owes almost R700m

Chris Maroleng. Facebook.

Chris Maroleng. Facebook.

The SABC board yesterday told parliament its bank account was so empty that workers and freelancers should be lucky to be paid at all.

The SABC board told parliament that they may not be able to continue to deliver on their mandate due to financial struggles, according to The Daily Sun.

The board appeared before the communications portfolio committee, telling them that if things carry on in the way they have, the public broadcaster faces total collapse.

The board also said that they owe R694 million to creditors, and that they will be prioritising workers’ salaries before attempting to pay content providers.

SABC COO Chris Maroleng also explained the recent decision to stop broadcasting Bafana Bafana matches.

“Sports rights have escalated by exorbitant amounts beyond inflation and that has become unsustainable for the SABC,” according to Maroleng.

Board chairman Bongumusa Makhatini told parliament: “The situation is very dire. If you look at what we have been able to do, we prioritise salaries and freelances. But we struggle to meet a lot of our monthly financial obligations.”

READ MORE: From bad to worse, SABC crumbling under debt

“Our public broadcaster is in in trouble. We are trying to mend it but it continues to break,” according to committee chairman Humphrey Maxengwana.

ANC MP Bongani Bongo slammed what he called “a lack of creativity” by the board. “You have to be innovative,” he continued.

A series of poor decisions during Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s reign are believed to be the reason behind the downward cash flow challenge – an idea seconded by media consultant Britta Reid.

Advertisers were affected by political interference from management, as well as Motsoeneng’s decision to implement a 90% local music quota on all SABC radio stations and 80% local content quota on TV channel SABC3.

That was when advertisers began pulling out, a situation that was exacerbated by the hurried implementation of a new advertising management system called Landmark.

The SABC bled around R300 million at the time, with conflicts with advertisers sprouting from then on.

True to form, Motsoeneng has offered to return to the ailing broadcaster to help “fix it”.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

 

today in print