State must increase SABC funding – ANC

2013-02-07 17:17

Government must increase its funding to the SABC, the ANC resolved at its national conference in Mangaung.

“Government funding must be ring-fenced to be targeted towards public programming,” the party said in its newly released full set of resolutions.

“In addition to government funding, the SABC requires a long-term sustainability strategy, based on a people-centred approach to public broadcasting.”

The public broadcaster has been plagued by financial troubles, staff problems and high management turnover.

There have also been reports of political interference at the SABC.

In 2009, the SABC received a bailout of more than R1 billion.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last year urged the SABC to reduce its staffing complement and cut costs as it continued to service the 2009 bailout granted by a private bank.

The Treasury has signed sureties to save the SABC from its R800 million deficit.

The ANC said a stable corporate governance mechanism was needed. This included strengthening the SABC’s accountability to Parliament, government as a shareholder and the public.

The public ownership of the SABC was central to its existence and sustainability, the party said.

There was also a need to re-examine the role of dominant players in the commercial broadcasting sector.

“Regulation of this sector to enforce effective competition has not produced the desired competition,” the ANC said.

The ANC bemoaned the content shown on the SABC.

Programming which supported education, health, poverty, rural development, crime prevention and other social priorities were minuscule compared with programming which was entertainment based.

The party said the commercial broadcasting sector was still dominated by foreign programming.

“Local content quotas need to be reviewed for all tiers of broadcasting. Raising the production levels and values of the South African content will in turn require collaboration by the various governmental entities that are active in the cultural creative industries space.”

Services did not support the long-term vision of a diverse South African broadcasting system.

Local content in the public broadcaster needed to be increased by 60%.

The ANC said government should fund the public broadcasting programmes of the SABC.

The SABC needed to remain in state hands so that it could facilitate access to broadcasting services by all, and corporate governance and human resources capacity should be strengthened, it said.

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