SABC Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon says the public broadcaster will be able to continue paying salaries over the next three months due to continuous support from its trading creditors.
Van Biljon was responding to members of the Communications Committee in Parliament’s questions on the SABC’s on-going financial crisis.
She says, “The infamous Day Zero, if it is equated to the day we can’t pay salaries … the three months focus at this point in time, pending the continued support of our trade creditors does not indicate that we will be unable to pay salaries, but we’re unable to invest in content.”
Van Biljon, SABC Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini, CEO Madoda Mxakwe and the Acting Chief Operating Officer Craig van Rooyen appeared before the committee on Wednesday to present the Public Broadcaster’s corporate strategic plan.
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has confirmed the SABC needs a bailout but this can only be approved once a new turnaround plan is submitted.
The SABC is struggling to pay an almost R2 billion debt. Its expenditure exceeds revenue.
And to add to this, the broadcaster is expected to register a R648 million loss in the current financial year.
The corporation is still battling to secure a R3.2 billion government guarantee which it needs to get out of the crisis.
“We are unable to invest in marketing; we are unable to do the critical maintenance and repair our buildings. The success of a funding intervention is a key component of this corporate plan that is in front of the honourable members today,” Van Biljon explains.
She adds that “Without the R3.2 billion, we cannot execute any of the numbers that you have seen here. We really just limp along literally. That is what we do.”
Political parties have also weighed in, saying government must come to the party.
But until the turnaround strategy of the SABC is completed in September, the government guarantee hangs in the balance.
Department’s DDG, Omega Shelembe talks about a meeting with Treasury that may assist with interim relief.
The current SABC Board says it has secured a billion rand worth of savings over the past year due to their turnaround strategy. But the Department maintains part of that strategy must include how to fund the multibillion rand public mandate, a new organisational structure as well as corporate governance.
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-Report by Mercedes Bessent and Bulelani Phillip
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