Parliament once again needs to attend to the SABC

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications
20 Mar 2017 in News

The DA will be requesting an urgent meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Communications for a briefing by the National Treasury on the current status of the SABC’s finances, following media reports that the finances of the SABC are in such a bad state that the production of new content has been halted and there are fears staff will not be paid.

A confidential National Treasury risk committee report leaked to the media is alleged to show a crash in the SABC’s reserves which plummeted to R174 million in December 2016 compared to R1 billion in cash reserves a year before.

The DA will request that National Treasury urgently conducts an assessment of the current status of the SABC’s finances and brief Parliament, particularly as the SABC’s current management cannot be trusted to provide accurate information to Parliament in this regard.

The Acting GCEO of the SABC, James Aguma, informed the Portfolio Committee on Communications, as well as the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that there is no financial crisis at the SABC just last month. It is apparent now that he was not fully honest.

The financial crisis at the SABC is concerning and should be treated as a matter of urgency, especially when people’s jobs are at risk. We trust that the Portfolio Committee on Communications will also view this matter as urgent.

The DA also urges the President to appoint the Board in order to establish a functioning Public Broadcaster, which can deliver on its mandate to provide quality entertainment and inform the South African public.