The SABC confirms it needs another bailout

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies
13 Sep 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

Hard on the heels of the news that the SABC incurred a significant loss of R1.1 billion in the past fiscal year, comes a call from the public broadcaster that it will need additional financial support before the 2024 Election. This was confirmed by the Chairperson of the SABC Board during a recent meeting of the Portfolio Committee.

In July, I reached out to Minister Mondli Gungubele regarding reports from the COO indicating that the SABC was on the brink of a financial crisis. Regrettably, I have yet to receive a response, which raises concerns about the level of priority the Minister assigns to the SABC’s financial stability.

Meanwhile, the SABC’s financial situation continues to deteriorate, leading to severe understaffing and resource shortages. The strain on its employees is palpable, and job security is increasingly uncertain. Just last week, the uncertainty around broadcasting Rugby World Cup matches involving the Springboks by the SABC, was only resolved by the intervention of private sector sponsors.

It is imperative to emphasise that the SABC holds a legislative mandate to disseminate accessible and high-quality information to the South African public, a mission that takes on heightened importance in the lead-up to next year’s Election. The role of the public broadcaster during an election can never be underestimated and to even suggest that it will not be able to meet its mandate without a financial injection should raise serious red flags.

In the forthcoming Portfolio Committee meeting on September 17th, I strongly urge the Minister to make an appearance and provide a comprehensive overview of the government’s strategies to rectify the SABC’s financial challenges.