State’s R1 billion SABC bailout gets coalition thumbs-up

2009-11-26 09:26

The SOS Coalition, which represents trade unions, media NGOs,

independent producers, academics and freedom of expression activists on Thursday

welcomed government guarantees given to the SABC.

“The SABC is suffering from serious liquidity problems, and the

guarantees should enable the corporation to borrow money more easily and

cheaply,” SOS said in a statement.

“The easing of liquidity problems should create the space for the

SABC to be stabilised and restored to a sound financial footing.”

The guarantees also showed “significant progress” in ensuring

stabilisation.

The coalition supported the arrangement that the initial R1 billion

would be made available immediately, but that the remaining R473 million be

dependent on the development of a detailed project plan that commits the SABC to

explicit revenue targets and cost cutting measures.

“This is important – the SABC needs to be held to account.”

The agreement between the new SABC board and the Minister of

Communications should ensure the effective spending of public money and should

not influence editorial independence. The agreement should also be made

public.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda said the money could be used

for urgent needs like payment of outstanding debts and other matters of

priority.


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