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The government announces bail-out plans to public broadcaster

By Ashok Ramsarup :: The cash-strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which is the public broadcaster in the country, has received a financial boost to the tune of two-point-one-billion Rand.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams made the announcement at a media briefing in Pretoria, Administrative Capital of South Africa today, but with a proviso. The ailing state broadcaster services 19 radio stations, including five television broadcasts.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said funds would be paid out soon after the state broadcaster had met five of the eight pre-conditions set out by the Treasury which included:
• Determine immediate cash requirements supported by detailed cash flow projections for the next 12 to 18 months;
• Submit a list identified initiatives for revenue purposes and cost cutting initiatives.
• Conduct a thorough investigation into what caused the financial collapse of the SABC and why the previous turnaround plans failed and why it was not successfully implemented;
• Provide an update of how the entity was dealing with people implicated in the investigation report; and…
• The development of a turnaround plan incorporating measures to prevent the re-occurrence of the identified factors.
Ndabeni-Abrahams said: “This must take into account various reports including those of the Special Investigating Unit, the Public Protector, Auditor-General and Parliament.
“On the pre-conditions mentioned, the SABC must produce separate financial reporting for public and commercial broadcasting services and identification of noncore assets for disposal to assist with reducing the re-capitalisation requirement from government”, she said.
Ndabeni-Abrahams added: “The SABC has not met the condition to develop a comprehensive private sector participation strategy, which highlights initiatives to be implemented and the net value to be derived from such partnerships. However, willingness to work on this condition has been expressly provided.”
SABC Board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said this was exciting news as the organisation now awaits the money to fund its turnaround strategy. Makhathini concluded that some of the money would be used to source content and to pay off some of the SABC’s debts.

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