Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has imposed a number of cost-cutting measures in a bid to improve its financial position as the public broadcaster buckles under financial strain.
The Minister said this when she answered questions that were posed to the Economic Cluster at the National Assembly for the first time since she was appointed in her portfolio.
She had told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the SABC’s performance for the fourth quarter ending 31 March 2017, showed an operating loss of about R509 million, while noting that the figures quoted were yet to be audited.
Minister Dlodlo said her department has been working with the SABC and the office of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Responding to a question from DA Member of Parliament Phumzile Van Damme, who had asked if the SABC – given its financial position – would be able to pay its debts in the foreseeable future and if it had asked for a cash injection from the National Treasury?
The Minister said: “The SABC will not have enough financial resources to meet its contractual obligations.
“What the Minister of Finance has said to us is that we would need to look at quite a number of issues before we come to him for assistance to either assist in ensuring that we are able to get funding from the banks or from other investors or even from the Treasury itself for that matter.
“And we have looked at quite a few things – we have imposed a moratorium on Capital expenditure, we have ensured that everybody who is on paid suspension, those cases must be expedited so that a decision could be made whether or not they remain as employees of the corporation,” she said.
The Minister also said that a decision was taken to reduce the number of consultants that the SABC uses.
“And the sad state is that the SABC was using financial consultants when they have almost eight, if I am not mistaken, chartered accountants,” she said.
The Minister also said that the SABC has imposed a moratorium on leave encashment, adding that this was something that she had not discussed with Minister Gigaba as yet.
“We are also looking at improving strategies on the collection of licenses. The collection of licences is dismal where we have 150 staff members that are responsible for this,” she said.