SABC in talks with government
May 25th, 2009 - 13:30 UTC by Andy Sennitt

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is currently in discussions with government over its financial woes, but has not requested a specific amount of money for a bailout. “At the moment we are engaging our stakeholders including the Department of Communications and Treasury regarding the matter. We are not talking figures. It would be very irresponsible to talk figures,” said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

He said the discussions, which had commenced a long time ago, were not only about money, but included other matters such as TV licences. This comes after certain media reported that the public broadcaster had requested a R2 billion bailout from government.

The SABC has been experiencing liquidity problems as a result of its funding model, the global credit crunch and the rapidly rising costs of content. As part of a turnaround strategy, the corporation is looking at various measures to ensure its sustainability and viability, including the implementation of the Austerity Plan, the freezing of vacant posts, optimisation of TV license revenue and continuous engagement with government to find solutions on the funding of the organisations. The strategy is further expected to address the working capital dynamics and unnecessary spending.

Regarding the possible strike by SABC staff due to them not receiving their annual wage increases and the lack of implementation in salary increments from last year, Mr Kganyago said: “There is no strike. The broadcaster will make an offer to unions on Monday afternoon.”

Mr Kganyago further said that the SABC wished to assure the public that preparations and plans for the Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup were in place and broadcasting these tournaments would go ahead as planned. The broadcaster said at the weekend it regarded the “statement of a possible blackout as unfortunate and irresponsible with the intent to cause unnecessary panic.”

“Statements such as these are not in the interest of the country and the SABC,” it said.