SABC plans public auction of 'non-core properties', including some leased to employees

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The SABC building in Auckland Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The SABC building in Auckland Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Veli Nhlapo
  • The SABC has announced that it will be terminating leases for some of its "non-core properties" as it seeks to cut costs.
  • Some of these include residential properties leased to employees.
  • The public broadcaster says that to ensure a "fair and transparent process" it will hold a public auction for the properties, but has not yet announced a time. 

Cash-strapped public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation has announced it will be terminating leases for "non-core properties," via a public auction, including some residential properties leased to employees.

In a statement on Friday morning the broadcaster said that it would start issuing termination notices from next month.

 "In order to ensure a fair and transparent process of the disposal of its non-core residential assets, the public broadcaster will hold a public auction," it said.

"The SABC will therefore not be able to offer right of first refusal to current tenants, as the process to purchase the properties will be open to the public. This decision is part of the recommendations of the process undertaken in line with the PMFA."

While the broadcaster did not say when the auction would take place, it said that "in an effort to accommodate the tenants" and "given that the festive season is upon us" it would be extending the termination notice period beyond that of the lease agreements.

It will be making a formal announcement for the date of the public auction at a later date. It did not immediately say which properties would be impacted, or how may employees may be affected. 

Yolande van Biljon, the SABC’s Chief Financial Officer, said in a statement that the disposal of non-core assets was part of the public broadcaster's turnaround plan. "The selling of non-core assets will also assist in the much needed cash injection, required for the SABC to become and remain financially sustainable”.

The SABC has for years been suffering financially from declining ad revenues and low rates of license payments, which according to critics have been worsened by mismanagement and corruption.

The announcement comes three days after the SABC said it would be extending the suspension of a retrenchment process to end of December as it attempts to find a solution to the impasse between management and workers.

Earlier this month some SABC staff embarked on a strike after 400 employees received notices of potential job cuts. The decision was met with fierce resistance from labour unions and affiliated movements, with threats of a broadcast blackout.

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