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SABC gets initial R2.1bn bailout

04 October 2019 - 09:57 By Andisiwe Makinana
The state has promised the broadcaster R3.2bn.
The state has promised the broadcaster R3.2bn.
Image: Sunday Times/ Waldo Swiegers

The government is to give the cash-strapped SABC a R2.1bn bailout, but it is only part of what the public broadcaster was promised.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced on Friday that the state would transfer R2.1bn of the R3.2bn it promised the broadcaster.

The balance will be transferred when the SABC meets all the funding preconditions set by Treasury.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the SABC only fully met five of the eight preconditions, partially met two and one was not met at all.

The preconditions met: 

  • Determine the immediate cash requirements, supported by detailed cash-flow projections for the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Submit a list of identified initiatives for revenue enhancement and cost-cutting initiatives. 
  • Conduct a thorough investigation into what caused the financial collapse of the SABC and why previous turnaround plans had failed to be successfully implemented.
  • Provide an update of how the entity is dealing with those implicated in the investigation report.
  • Develop a turnaround plan incorporating measures to prevent the recurrence of the identified factors. This must also take into account various reports, including those of the Special Investigating Unit, public protector, auditor-general and parliament.

The preconditions partially met: 

  • Produce separate financial reporting for public and commercial broadcasting services.
  • Identifying noncore assets for disposal to assist with reducing the recapitalisation requirement from government. 

The condition not met includes include developing a comprehensive private sector participation strategy, clearly highlighting initiatives to be implemented and the net value to be derived from these partnerships. Willingness to work on this condition has been expressly provided.

“Based on the above joint assessments, the two departments have worked together to facilitate the initial tranche of the R3,2bn allocation to be transferred to the SABC.

“As such R2,1bn will be transferred to the public broadcaster on Monday, 07 October 2019. The remaining balance of R1,1bn will be transferred once the public broadcaster fully meets the remaining three outstanding conditions or firmly demonstrates evidence to fully comply,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams. 

The SABC initially wanted R6,8bn to implement its turnaround strategy, with R3,2bn required in the short term.

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