R1,47bn bail-out for troubled SABC

THE government has thrown the SABC a lifeline with the announcement by Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda that the state has approved a bank guarantee of R1,47billion for the embattled public broadcaster.

In June, the SABC applied for a R2billion bail-out from the state.

Nyanda's spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said the SABC's application for a bank guarantee was approved by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

"National Treasury has stated that the guarantee will be released in tranches, with a draw-down of R1billion made available immediately.

"Through newly introduced tight control measures that include regular management reports, the shareholder will ensure that the money given to the public broadcaster is utilised properly and to settle urgent outstanding financial obligations," Rikhotso said yesterday.

Rikhotso said the government had attached demands that the SABC should draft a turn-around strategy with clear and achievable performance targets.

"The release of the remaining R473million will be subject to the development of a detailed project plan by the public broadcaster committing itself to explicit revenue targets and cost-cutting measures to enable effective oversight and monitoring of projections by governmen," he said.