SABC & # 39; s debt close to R700m

The SABC is currently in debt near R700m.

The public broadcaster owes its creditors R694m, with further expected R475m incurred, YBC's chief financial officer, Yolande van Biljon, told the Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday.

In addition, by the end of this month, the SABC will only have R26m on its bank account, after salaries and about 25% of the outstanding debt will be paid.

"Our financial situation is very acute," said Bongumusa Makhathini, Chairman of the Board of SABC.

Newly appointed SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the SABC had "serious liquidity challenges".

He said that a financially motivated public broadcaster not only affects its employees, but also the local production industry.

He said they know they have the responsibility to educate South African voters ahead of next year's elections, but at the moment this is not possible. They have called Treasury to make sure they get money.

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SABC COO Chris Maroleng said they have a "significant funding gap" to obtain broadcasting rights for sports events, while SABC, as a public broadcaster, has a regulatory mandate to broadcast sporting events deemed to be in the national interest according to the rules prepared by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

He said that failure of the SABC to broadcast these events to reputation damage will provoke public protest and this could lead to a decline in advertising revenue and a decrease in TV license payments as a setback. If they do not follow the rules, they can also get a fine of R500 000.

He said that the SABC is not protected by the 2010 sports broadcasting regulations.

The regulations prescribe sporting events that must be broadcast by the SABC in national interest.

SABC board member Michael Markovitz said they do not ask for money for sports rights, they want the rules to be adjusted so that it costs the SABC less.

He said the rules are eight years old. The idea was to make sport more accessible to South Africans. But the sports rights organization knows that the SABC must obtain the rights, which is why they can push up the price.

The committee supported the idea of ​​looking at the regulations and committee chairman Humphrey Maxegwana said they would use ICASA on sports rights.

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Despite the stark financial picture that was being painted, the committee was also pleased that the SABC is on the right track. They will soon present their reversal strategy to the committee.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said she is "cautiously optimistic".

"It seems that SABC is addressing the problems," she said. "Please do not disappoint us when you present your plan of action."

Maxegwana said, "You come there, many things that you do sit comfortably at the committee."

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