SOEs plead for R12.4 billion bailout: report

State-owned enterprises (SOE)s, the SABC and SA Post Office have asked the department of communication for bailout funding amounting to a total of R12.4 billion, The Sunday Times reported.

The national broadcaster, which has recently been the center of controversy surrounding its board and failing business, has asked communications minister, Dina Pule, for a R7.3 billion bailout in order to complete its digital migration project.

The Post Office, on the other hand, put in a request to Pule for a R5.1 billion bailout.

According to the report, neither of bailout figures could be met by the department, with the SABC ultimately getting R140 million (R7.2 billion short of its request), while the Post Office received nothing.

Not a bailout

According to SABC spokesman, Kaizer Kganyago, as well as Dina Pule’s Spokesman, Siya Qoza, while the request for funding was made to the department, both parties deny it was a bailout request.

Kganyago told the Sunday Times that the requested money would fund the SABC’s digital migration capital projects, next year’s general elections, as well as digital television channels – noting further that the request was for a period of three years.

“We have done this before in a case where we could not get all the funding we need,” Kganyago said.

“For example, in previous years we asked for funding of election coverage, but we ended up funding it from our own funds by delaying other projects,” he told the paper.

Some of the SABC’s capital projects are currently funded by National Treasury, which projected that the broadcaster would suffer a loss of R616 million in the 2012/13 financial year.

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SOEs plead for R12.4 billion bailout: report