Public broadcaster to receive R1.4bil

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretoria - Department of Communications has announced the approval of a R1.473 billion bank guarantee for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has approved the guarantee which will be released in tranches, with a draw-down of R1 billion made available immediately.

The Communications Department said that government as the shareholder would ensure that the money given to the public broadcaster is utilised properly and to settle urgent outstanding financial obligations.

This will be done through newly introduced tight control measures that include regular management reports.

"The release of the remaining R473million will be subject to the development of a detailed project plan by the public broadcaster committing itself to explicit revenue targets and cost cutting measures to enable effective oversight and monitoring of projections by government.

"These undertakings will be included in the Shareholder Agreement between the Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda and the SABC board," said the department.

Nyanda said in the statement that the intervention by government would go a long way towards stabilising the public broadcaster after a tumultuous period marked by anxiety and uncertainty among staff in particular and the public in general.

"The SABC is a national asset that needs to be guarded with jealousy by those put in charge of looking after it on behalf of all South Africans.

"We hope that the financial injection by government will help the SABC meet its urgent needs such as payment of outstanding debts and other matters of priority", he said.

He further thanked those involved, including Gordhan, for finalising the bail out.

"The interim board, working together with the Ministerial Task Team, has done tremendous work under trying circumstances and tight deadlines to deliver on this major milestone," said Nyanda.