SABC “safe” for next three months

Thursday, July 4, 2019

By Mish Molakeng 

SABC Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon says there is no anticipation of Day Zero at the public broadcaster for the next three months. 

Full staff salaries, Van Biljon said, will continue to be paid without any glitches. 

The CFO on Thursday said continual progress is being made in cutting costs and stabilising the balance sheet of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). 

“We are not out of the woods yet but we are making progress as far as improving our balance sheet,” said Van Biljon. 

Meanwhile, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said government agrees the SABC needs urgent financial assistance. However, the Minister was quick to point out that the turnaround strategy for the public broadcaster must first meet the requirements of National Treasury. 

“The stability and financial viability of the SABC is in all our best interest. A turnaround strategy that passes the test is key for the funding of the public broadcaster. 

“The SABC has been experiencing liquidity problems due to historic financial management issues and the rapidly rising costs of content. The turnaround strategy is expected to address the working capital dynamics, unnecessary spending and various instruments to ensure the sustainability and viability of the public broadcaster,” said the Minister. 

The turnaround strategy is expected to be finalised by September this year. 

On Thursday, National Treasury and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies, together with the SABC, will meet to devise interim financial assistance for the public broadcaster, while working on the complete turnaround strategy.  

On Wednesday, Ndabeni-Abrahams presented the Services Annual Performance Plans for the Departments of Communications, and Telecommunications and Postal Services to the Portfolio Committee on Communications.  

Budget vote 

Meanwhile, the two departments led by Ndabeni-Abrahams and Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana will on 10 July table the department budget vote.  The Minister is expected to make a pronouncement on policy direction on allocation of spectrum. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa -- in his State of the Nation Address in June -- announced that Ndabeni-Abrahams will issue a policy direction to communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, within a month, allowing long-delayed broadband spectrum to be allocated to mobile operators. 

The President in his speech said government intends to ensure “our legal and regulatory framework promotes innovation, scaling up skills development of young people, new technologies and reducing data costs”. –