SABC's financial woes deepen

2018-12-23 15:58
SABC building in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

SABC building in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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The struggling SABC has been given 20 days to respond to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to explain why it believes it is not trading recklessly under insolvent circumstances.

City Press reported that the public broadcaster’s liabilities exceed its assets by R1.8billion, according to the notice which was served last Thursday, and “as a result, the SABC is not able to settle its short-term obligations”.

The paper added that only half of the television production houses who do work with the broadcaster were paid for December.

The organisation had to write to the City of Johannesburg pleading that their lights be switched on. It requires R600m a month to operate but is only generating about R380m in income.

Board members resignations   

Earlier this month, the resignation of four members of the SABC board caused some confusion about where it leaves the public broadcaster.

Veteran journalist Mathata Tsedu, John Matisonn, deputy chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama and Krish Naidoo tendered their resignations to the Presidency.

The four asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to waive their three-month notice periods.

This means the current board is inquorate, and cannot take significant decisions.

READ: Analysis: 5 things you need to know about the SABC board chaos

It was alleged that there was an active effort to collapse the board after it reached an impasse with the government over looming retrenchments, which the board maintains is inevitable, even if the ailing public broadcaster gets the multi-billion rand injection it desperately needs to keep the lights on and bills paid.

The board previously revealed that it would reach a D-day scenario by March 2019 because current cost-cutting methods were not enough to stem the financial blood-letting.

READ: Low staff morale, fear and anger at the SABC

In October, the SABC announced that it planned to lay off almost 1 000 of its permanent workers, and at least 1 200 freelancers.

The announcement, however, was not welcomed by many, including affected unions and the Communications Ministry. The broadcaster also said that by March 2019, it would not have enough money to pay salaries.

An employee at the SABC earlier told News24 that it should conduct a qualification vet and rid those who only have Grade 12 certificates but are employed in key positions.

Employees complained that the morale among staff was low, and that most employees were stressed and not working at their optimum since the SABC announced retrenchments.

Read more on:    sabc  |  johanneburg  |  media
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