African National Congress (ANC) NEC member Khumbudzo Ntshaveni says the policy conference’s commission on communications, which she chairs, agrees that there have to be other ways to fund the public broadcaster, the SABC.
She says delegates at the party’s Policy Conference in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, agree that the heavy reliance of the SABC on advertising is unsustainable and government should ensure that the public broadcaster has access to adequate resources.
Ntshaveni says newly proposed policies on broadcasting will focus on the public broadcaster.
“The SABC has both the commercial and public mandate. On the public mandate, we want the SABC to be funded from the national fiscus but also propose a broadcasting levy because the TV license doesn’t work. And the SABC commercial wing must be allowed to compete, be regulated the same way that commercial is being regulated and therefore they must compete in that space.”
In March, Parliament’s Standing Committee of Public Accounts ( Scopa) heard that despite declining revenue, the SABC had no intention of approaching the National Treasury with cap in hand.
The public broadcaster had briefed Scopa on irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year. It blamed some of the financial woes on previous management.
The Ministry of Communications, which represents the government as a shareholder in the SABC, says it is concerned about the public broadcaster’s declining revenue.
“The declining revenue that we are experiencing if it not attended to might pose a significant threat for the SABC going forward. Management is insisting that there will be no need for a further bailout but from our side, it does remain a concern,” said Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Philly Mapulane at the time
But the SABC blamed this on costly signal distribution.
“Because of our unique role and very high-cost structure, signal distribution cost is still one of the major costs faced by the SABC and we are currently in talks with Sentech through the Competition Commission to have the tariffs reviewed and that will save us R250 million and get the SABC profitable,” said SABC Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini.
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)