Note to Editor: Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
We now have confirmation of the amount of the government bailout the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has applied for.
In a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance, National Treasury revealed that a “R3 billion [guarantee] is being considered” for the SABC.
It is seriously disappointing that Parliament, and indeed, the public had to find out about the amount of the SABC’s requested bailout in a roundabout manner.
The DA has on several occasions requested that the Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, make the SABC’s financial requirements public and consult Parliament on the proposed bailout.
However, she refused, stating that the amount does not matter.
It is no secret that the SABC is currently facing immense financial upheaval due to the destructive decision making by its former executives and board.
Whilst the Committee was recently informed by the SABC interim Board that there has been an improvement in the public broadcaster’s finances, R3 billion is an astonishing amount of money.
Parliament’s Communications Committee should have been consulted in the interest of good governance and transparency especially given the financial stress at the SABC.
The DA will now write to the Chairperson of the Communications Committee, Humphrey Maxegwana, to request that the Minister appear before the Committee when Parliament reconvenes to give a briefing on the SABC’s finances, as well give full details about the requested financial assistance.
It is time for the Minister to come clean to the Committee and the public as the DA will no longer tolerate her obstruction of Parliamentary oversight.