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SABC denies claims it is requesting another bailout from government

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Public broadcaster says it had instituted measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations

THE SOUTH African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has vehemently denied media reports on Sunday that it is seeking another financial bailout from government.

The SABC had noted with concern the incorrect and misleading article titled “SABC again pleads poverty, cites virus”, published by the Sunday Times newspaper, SABC acting spokeswoman Mmoni Seapolelo said in a statement on Sunday.

The article stated that the corporation would on Monday appear before Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications and digital technology to request additional funding, she said.

“This is not true. The SABC has not requested any additional funding and has no meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) with the portfolio committee on this matter. In fact, the SABC will be presenting its 2020/21 corporate plan to the portfolio committee on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.”

The SABC pointed out that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic had had a significant impact on every industry globally, including the broadcasting industry. Advertising revenues had been slashed across the media industry, causing many media entities to look at cost-cutting mechanisms.

While the pandemic had affected the public broadcaster’s revenue projections for this fiscal due to the decline in advertising spend, the revenue shortfall figures and forecast losses quoted by the Sunday Times were inaccurate, said the broadcaster. 

It added that the correct forecast numbers had been submitted to the shareholder and would be presented to the portfolio committee in due course.

Seapolelo said that despite the revenue shortfall, the SABC had instituted measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its operations.

“Considering the above, the SABC would like to state categorically that there is no application for any additional bailout from (the National) Treasury. Since it received its bailout allocation from Treasury, the SABC has restored a healthy working capital cycle aligned with the cash flow forecasting models.

“The SABC board remains committed to ensuring that the public service broadcaster fulfils its public service mandate, while striving to be financially sustainable,” Seapolelo said.

– African News Agency (ANA)