The SABC needs urgent financial help otherwise it may not be able to pay salaries in November – a situation which has already hit independent producers.
“Our financial situation‚ I’m not going to lie‚ it is in a very‚ very critical state. If we don’t get the financial help‚ come November we are going to struggle‚” said SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini in an exclusive interview with this publication on Tuesday.
Makhathini was responding to a question about whether the state broadcaster would be able to pay salaries given the financial situation that was presented to the National Assembly earlier in the day.
“We are in a very financially dire situation and it is the reason why we pushed very hard to get the turnaround approved by the board.
“We now have taken the portfolio committee through this turnaround so they understand the comprehensive overall things that we are driving to get the SABC on a better footing‚” he said.
He was speaking in the wake of a six-hour meeting with the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on communications.
Makhathini said they have already been struggling to pay independent producers‚ people who provide content which is critical to the mandate of the SABC.
“If the situation is not arrested‚ it will escalate and get to the employees‚” he said.
The SABC has until now been prioritising employees’ salaries.
“But at the end of the day‚ you can’t keep on pushing this thing down. At some point you need to get real help‚ real intervention‚” said the board chairman.
It’s been 16 months since the then interim SABC board requested a government guarantee to be able to borrow money in May last year. The broadcaster is yet to receive the guarantee.