SABC reports R910m loss

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pretoria - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has submitted to Parliament its annual report and audited financial statements which reflect a loss of R910 million.

In terms of the statements, the SABC not only reported a loss of R910 million, but also that revenue increased by only 0.9 percent while expenditure increased by 19 percent.

The SABC's interim board Chairperson, Irene Charnley, said the loss could not be blamed on the financial meltdown alone. While it had had an impact, she said, the very public and sustained battles at a leadership level undoubtedly also contributed towards inadequate management of revenue and expenditure.

Other challenges that had a negative impact on revenue include schedule instability and an increase in discounts offered to clients and agencies.

Some of the rises in expenditure include a 15.3 percent increase in employee costs and a 155.3 percent increase in programme, film and sports rights investments.

Other rises in expenditure came as a result of unbudgeted operational expenditure because of the expansion of foreign bureaus and SABC News International as well as a 38.6 percent increase in depreciation and impairment of property, plant and equipment and amortisation of computer software.

Charnley noted that the financial statements also reflected the payment by the previous board of R6.7 million to the former group Chief Executive Officer, Advocate Dali Mpofu.

However, despite the challenges, Charnley said on-air and off-air staff continued day after day, hour after hour to ensure programmes went out on radio and television keeping millions of South Africans informed.

Further to this, the broadcaster had ensured that all three channels exceeded the South African television content quotas in every genre of programming. An amount of R862 million was invested in the acquisition of local television content during the year under review.

The SABC also extended its coverage through the roll-out of four of low power transmitters in the Kgalagadi area while applications to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for a further six new transmitters in the Free State, Western Cape and Limpopo Provinces were approved and installation has commenced.