Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Wednesday told Members of Parliament that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is in a sound financial state.
“We celebrate the fact that the South African Broadcasting Corporation is in a sound financial state and has a cash equivalent balance of R1.02 billion [not audited] at the end of the 2014/15 financial year,” said the Minister as she tabled the department’s Budget Vote Speech in Parliament.
She thanked the state broadcaster’s board and management for turning the tide, saying she hoped it grew from strength to strength.
For the financial year 2015/16, R1.281 billion has been allocated to the department. Of this, R70. 7 million or 6% of the total budget is allocated to cover the operational expenses of the department and R1.21 billion – or 94% – is allocated to state-owned entities and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) to carry out their various mandates.
Minister Muthambi said the SABC has issued its 9th Request for Proposals (RFP) Book on local content amounting to R600 million. This surpassed the previous one, which was over R100 million, making it the biggest RFP book issued by the SABC for local content to date.
“The SABC is on the move, we have stabilised the management of the corporation by filling the positions of the chief operations officer, chief financial officer, head of news and other Executives.
“I am happy to inform the house that more than 50% of the executive committee members are women, which is the first in the history of the SABC,” she said.
Last week, the public broadcaster launched entertainment channel, SABC Encore. The 5th television channel under the SABC is on the DSTV platform on channel 156.
A further feather in the corporation’s cap is that from Friday, the SABC News Channel will be broadcast to the entire African Continent.
Minister Muthambi said this channel is a model of what the SABC will offer its customers in the new digital environment.
“Government continues to support the SABC to discharge its public broadcasting service mandate. During this financial year R173 million from the department’s budget has been allocated to the corporation. Of which R49.6 million has been allocated towards the operation of Channel Africa.
“Furthermore we will, during this financial year, develop a funding model for the SABC,” she said.
With regard to ICASA, the Minister said an amount of R393.6 million has been allocated to, among other things, ensure that local content regulations are finalised and the implementation of an efficient radio frequency spectrum management system is concluded.
In order to address the lack of access to the media by rural and historically disadvantaged communities and individuals, R22.6 million is allocated to the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).
The MDDA will during this year prioritise clearing the backlog of projects that are either no longer in existence, or have struggled to account for their support and still require assistance.
To brand the country locally and abroad, R173 million has been allocated to Brand SA.
To increase the Film and Publications Board’s (FPB) visibility through the implementation of the cyber safe outreach programme to protect children against harmful content, R82. 4 million has been allocated to the FPB during the 2015/16 financial year.
Minister Muthambi also announced that the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will produce 20.4 million copies of the flagship newspaper, Vuk’uzenzele and ensure that it available across the country in all official languages.
From 1 August 2015, Vuk’uzenzele will carry advertisements of positions in government. A mobile application has been launched in this regard.
A total of R365.5 million has been allocated to support the work of the GCIS. “We will continue to support the work of the GCIS to ensure that all citizens are informed about government programmes and projects,” said the Minister.