Turnaround strategy to help reposition SABC

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the SABC remains committed to implementing its turnaround strategy in order to turn the corner and stabilise.

The Minister said this when the SABC appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Communications to present its annual report for the financial year ending 2017/18.

“In the presentation, there would be an attempt to indicate some of the things that have been put together but in the work that has been identified, one is the commitment to reposition the SABC.

“Secondly, to put a multi-pronged turnaround strategy that does not only look at the SABC of its past glory, but also the SABC of the future that would also be adapting to opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution to the issues around content and contributing towards nation building and social cohesion, the issues around leadership,” she said.

She said that while the public broadcaster did not have permanent senior managers, like the Group CEO and a chief financial officer, among others, during the year under review, the current team resembled a top management structure that is stabilising and ready to execute its mandate.

SABC Board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said the public broadcaster’s turnaround strategy mainly addresses three key areas – legacy governance issues; addressing regulatory and policy issues – dealing with issues like sports rights - and also implementing the commercial and operational strategy.

“The team is hard at work [to implement] … that,” he said.

SABC exceeds targets despite financial constraints

Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the SABC has, during the year under review, exceeded ICASA’s local content and genre quotas on television and performed well on its local quotas on radio.

While the SABC covered numerous news, current affairs and sports events – most of them live, on the governance side, the SABC was focussed on reducing its internal and external audit findings and also implemented performance management and drove the culture of consequence management “more rigorously”.

He said the SABC had a tough financial year wherein its cash resources were stretched.

The SABC’s total revenue, Mxakwe said, stood at R6.6 billion against a budget of R7.3 billion – which translated to an underperformance of R709 million. However, the SABC recorded a year-on-year performance improvement of R56 million, or 1%.

The public broadcaster’s expenditure stood at R7.269 billion against a budget of R7.279 billion, resulting in a net loss of R622 million.

SABC chief executive officer Chris Maroleng said while the broadcaster’s TV channels continue to deliver quality local and international content to 28 million SA viewers, radio stations have remained relevant and widely accessible to 28 328 million viewers.

“…in the year under review, the all-adult share, that is of people who are counted as 15 years and above was steady at just over 70%, which in real terms translates to just over 28 million South Africans,” he said.

He also said several awards that SABC has received across genres such as current affairs, and sports, among others, were testament to the broadcaster’s “compelling content”.

This, he said, includes 24 radio awards, 22 TV awards, 36 awards in the news and current affairs section and 2 in the sports section.

Mxakwe said, meanwhile, that in order to address profitability and long-term sustainability, SABC would have to address the challenges of its funding model, cost base and operational inefficiencies.

He also said the SABC will work towards ensuring that the organisation is run efficiently and effectively and that it would redirect spending and simplify procedures in a way that supports a more sustainable and creative public broadcaster.

SABC, Mxakwe said, was in a process of “rehabilitation and renewal” and that it must be carefully managed and restored to ensure the fulfilment of its unique public mandate.

He said good progress has been made in stabilising the SABC as well as strengthening its governance and that efforts were being made to retain its integrity. – SAnews.gov.za