Home South African SABC says it won’t ask for a bailout despite declining revenue

SABC says it won’t ask for a bailout despite declining revenue

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The SABC has ruled out any possibility of requesting another bailout despite the public broadcaster experiencing a decline in revenue collection.

Picture: Cara Viereckl/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

THE SABC has ruled out any possibility of requesting another bailout despite the public broadcaster experiencing a decline in revenue collection.

“We do not have the intention to come back for a bailout. This business is run by a group of people and a board that have building blocks in place to return it to fiscal sustainability,” chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon said, adding that their corporate plan reflected this.

Van Biljon said the big item on their agenda was the regulatory environment to create regulations that were permanent, among others.

She made the comment at the meeting of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) when DA MP Alf Lees suggested that “you are to come back for further bailouts”.

Lees made the comments after Van Biljon indicated a projected decline in the public broadcaster’s revenue at the end of the financial year when quizzed about the going-concern status of the public broadcaster.

Van Biljon told MPs that the SABC’s revenue was about R1.4 billion less than what they budgeted for this year and that the expenditure was about R1.8bn less than what was budgeted for.

ANC MP Sakhumzi Somyo said they would like to see the revenue grow and not decline.

“The going concern is a valid concern. It is one thing that we will have to monitor,” Somyo said.

He noted that the decrease in revenue and expenditure was a sign of concern.

“We appeal to the SABC to do more to sustain the course to reach a level where we say we are comfortable with the going concern status,” Somyo added.

But Van Biljon noted that the decline in revenue in sponsorship and TV licences in 2020/21 was mainly in the first and second quarters when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

She said they had invested this year in marketing, among others.

The CFO told Scopa that the SABC has not used its available R15m overdraft and R280m debt financing facility.

The public broadcaster also did not have loans, except the financial management leases for its fleet of vehicles.

“We are in this financial year likely to end (with) around R200m to R300m loss against the budget of R600m loss.

“We have just on the 28th (February) finalised our corporate plan for the next three years. We endeavour to make break-even or a profit in the next three financial years,” Van Biljon said.

In his earlier opening remarks, Deputy Communications Minister Philly Mapulane had noted that the SABC was in its second year of implementation of its turnaround plan

“We observed that, unlike in the past, we are (doing) well in achieving the targets,” Mapulane said.

He said there were some issues such as the decline in advertising revenue, which was of concern to them.

“The organisation is dealing with such matters. We hope the organisation will be stabilised,” Mapulane said.

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