Board determined to turnaround financial woes

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board says it will work around the clock to ensure that the strategy announced a few weeks ago to turnaround the public broadcaster's finances, bears fruit.

""We continue to monitor this on an ongoing basis with a view to returning the organisation to a healthy financial position," chairperson of the board Kanyi Mkonza said on Tuesday.

The board announced several changes to bring about stability to the organisation, following a special meeting at the weekend.

The SABC has been in serious financial difficulty and the turnaround strategy was meant to look at various measures to ensure its sustainability and viability.

Meanwhile, the board announced on Tuesday, it will not renew the contract of the broadcaster's head of news and current affairs, Dr Snuki Zikalala at the end of April when it expires.

Ms Mkonza said although it acknowledged the leadership and vision given by Dr Zikalala in establishing the national broadcaster as an international brand, it was "time to bring someone with fresh ideas to the broadcaster".

She said journalist Phil Molefe will from 1 May act as head of news and current affairs.

"This was so as to allow the board time to look for Mr Zikalala's replacement. The board will appoint someone with relevant skill and expertise to take our complex news operation forward," said Ms Mkonza.

Other changes also happening at the broadcaster's news division include the closure of at least three bureaus namely Jamaica, Kinshasa and reducing the bureaus in the United States to two.

"We are encouraged by the decision to reduce the bureaus; however, we continue to urge management to take effective steps to increase efficiencies across the entire news-value chain, including the regions and the remaining foreign operations" said Bheki Khumalo, Chairperson of the News Committee.

At the meeting, the board decided to review the appointment of the chief operations officer, a post that has been vacant since 2007.

"Accordingly [the board] referred the matter back to the acting Minister of Communications, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. This is done in order to ensure that the minister applies her mind to the original recommendation of the previous board," Mr Khumalo said.

Additional to this, the board has decided to reduce the number of committees of the board to six.