The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will receive
a much-needed government bailout, after failing to improve its financial
position in 2019.
Government, by way of the National Treasury, has, once again, been persuaded to open its coffers up to the embattled broadcaster.
Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams confirmed that the finance minister was expected to finalise the bailout plan, which includes guarantees on loan agreements, and, in due course, release the figures to the public.
SABC bailout “to prevent the broadcaster from collapsing”
Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has said National Treasury has agreed to provide the SABC with interim financial relief, to prevent the broadcaster from collapsing. #sabcnews
— OnPoint (@OnPointSABC) May 17, 2019
While the Treasury has remained mum on details relating to
the bailout, Ndabeni-Abrahams explained that the finance minister would
sign-off on the agreement “to prevent the broadcaster from collapsing”.
Speaking to SABC News on the current challenges, both financial and operational, facing the public broadcaster, Ndabeni-Abrahams explained:
“It is in our best interest to ensure that SABC survives and thrives in everything that they do. That is why we committed that we will be giving SABC money.”
In 2018, the SABC received numerous government bailouts, totalling several billion rand. This, however, has barely been enough to keep the broadcaster afloat. Dire financial circumstances have threatened mass retrenchments and frustrated service providers. The fightback from major trade unions almost singlehandedly prevented job losses in the organisation yet staff still remain on tenterhooks.
Diesel leak sparks outrage from Trade Unions
Following a disastrous diesel leakage on the 15th floor of
the public broadcaster’s Radio Park headquarters in Johannesburg earlier in the
week, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU)
has, once again, threatened legal action.
BEMAWU’s qualms centre on the issue of inadequate building
maintenance, which the union says is to blame for the Radio Park leak. BEMAWU
spokesperson, Hannes du Buisson, said that the union would institute legal
proceedings against the department of Telecommunications, the Treasury and even
President Cyril Ramaphosa himself, should a bailout be denied.
It is unclear, in light of the recent bailout confirmation,
whether this threat has been retracted.