The financial struggles of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is well-known. The public broadcaster is on the brink of financial ruin, which could result in a total blackout – where broadcasting ceases.
That’s according to SABC board chair Bongumusa Makhathini who was speaking to the Sunday Times. The report claims that at the end of March, the national broadcaster had to decide whether to pay staff or its municipal accounts. It opted to take care of its staff, but owes the City of Johannesburg millions.
“I’m not sure how we are going to pay for salaries come end of June,” Makhathini was quoted as saying to the Sunday Times.
“We have also not maintained any of our infrastructure and a communication blackout is imminent. We anticipated ‘Day Zero’ in March, but we have managed to stay on air until now.”
The SABC also owes millions to Sentech and SuperSport. South Africa’s government is mulling a R3 billion-plus bailout for the broadcaster, but the struggles have been part and parcel of the state broadcaster for some time now.
Cleaning up the SABC’s financial mess
But grim as the current outlook is, there are some signs of
revival. Or rather, there are good people willing to fight the good fight to get
the financial house in order.
Last week, SABC chief audit executive Thami Zikode survived an assassination attempt. Zikode has been working in the audit department for the past 18 months in a bid to clean up the financial mess.
Makhathini vowed that intimidation would stop them from
bringing order to the broadcaster.
“If you look at what Zikode’s role is about at the SABC and him being attacked, it is clear that there are people fighting back the efforts of trying to clean up this space. But at the end of the day, no amount of intimidation will stop us from doing what is right.”