‘Just last month they said everything was fine’: Calls for urgent SABC action

2017-03-20 12:47

As the situation at the South African Broadcasting Corporation worsens, the Democratic Alliance has called on Parliament to address media reports that claimed that the state broadcaster finances are in shambles.

This weekend, City Press reported exclusively on the goings on within the SABC, with many high-level sources alleging that “a halt has been called to producing new TV shows and staff members fear they won’t be paid”.

Read: SABC faces collapse.

Now the DA is requesting an urgent meeting “of the portfolio committee on communications for a briefing by the national treasury on the current status of the SABC’s finances”.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said last week that the organisation’s finances were “under pressure, with the SABC now funding its activities from its reserves”, and put the blame on the global economy, the media, the parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board to hold office and a lack of government support.

But a treasury risk committee report that was leaked to the media alleged that the SABC’s reserves for December 2016 had fallen to just R174 million, compared with R1 billion for the 2015 period.

“The acting group chief executive of the SABC, James Aguma, informed the portfolio committee on communications, as well as the standing committee on public accounts that there is no financial crisis at the SABC just last month. It is apparent now that he was not fully honest,” DA member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme said.

“The financial crisis at the SABC is concerning and should be treated as a matter of urgency, especially when people’s jobs are at risk. We trust that the portfolio committee on communications will also view this matter as urgent.”

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
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March 18 2018