SABC: Finances improving but not yet out of the woods

2013-02-01 18:55

SABC deputy chairperson Thami KaPlaatjie says the public broadcaster’s financial situation is improving but warned that it was not yet out of the woods.

“We must not fool ourselves. This doesn’t mean we’ve met all the conditions of the government guarantee,” KaPlaatjie said.

The SABC announced today that it had paid R778 million on the R1 billion loan it took from Nedbank in 2009.

National Treasury gave the SABC a R1.47 billion guarantee for the Nedbank loan. The terms of the guarantee include increasing audience share, boosting television licence revenue and slashing the number of staff members, among others.

The SABC has already paid R210 million in interest charges.

The loan was taken after the public broadcaster experienced a cash flow crisis following years of mismanagement.

“We’re pleased with the SABC’s performance in the last two years,” chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane said.

Acting chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the SABC was in good hands.

“We still have money in the bank, there’s no crisis,” he said.

Tian Olivier, the SABC’s acting chief financial officer, revealed that the public broadcaster’s bank balance was more than R500 million strong.

Another R230 million, including R222 million loan capital and R8 million in interest, is still outstanding.

The next instalment is due in April next year.

Meanwhile, the SABC has been given the green light to fill the vacant chief operating officer position by Communications Minister Dina Pule.

The position will be advertised on Sunday.

KaPlaatjie said the SABC board has agreed on the requirements for the position after a protracted legal battle with former executive Mvuzo Mbebe was settled last year.

Mbebe took the SABC to court after the board, chaired by Eddie Funde, recommended him for the COO position in July 2007.

A new board under Khanyi Mkhonza overturned Mbebe’s appointment, prompting him to interdict the SABC against filling the vacancy pending a South Gauteng High Court review of Funde’s recommendation.

Another top executive, suspended chief financial officer Gugu Duda, is due to face her disciplinary hearing set down for up to five days later this month.

Duda was suspended in September because of alleged procurement irregularities relating to sponsorship deals.

KaPlaatjie said the SABC was pleased with the performance of Duda’s temporary replacement, Olivier.

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