SABC facing fresh cash crisis – report

2017-03-13 15:52 - Thinus Ferreira
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Cape Town – The SABC is once again facing a calamitous cash crisis, similar to the one in 2009 that brought it to the brink of financial collapse.

Business Day on Monday reported about a SABC treasury risk committee report of January 2017 warning that the beleaguered SABC, constantly lurching from crisis to crisis, is once again facing a finance nightmare.

The report said the broadcaster’s cash reserves fell to just R174m by the end of December 2016.

The SABC’s money woes became so bad in 2009 that it received a government bailout in the form of a government-guaranteed Nedbank bank loan of R1.4bn.

Now SABC insiders are warning that the public broadcaster is once again approaching a depleted cash reserves cliff that could see it again needing yet another possible government bailout.

According to the SABC’s treasury risk report, the SABC is once again delaying payment to some suppliers to keep some cash in the bank for longer.

The SABC’s liquidity requirement is R650m per month – the amount of money the SABC is supposed to keep in the kitty as its cash balance in order to remain operational.

By December 2016, this had plunged to just R174m, with Business Day reporting on the treasury report, warning that the SABC could soon be facing a cash deficit of over R1bn if the public broadcaster’s current spending levels continue.

Issues such as the use of consultants and the former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local content policy has had an impact on the SABC.

As cash went out to pay for productions, viewers and advertisers on the other hand have fled, causing SABC revenues to plummet the past few months.

At the end of February, the SABC’s acting CEO James Aguma told Parliament that the SABC’s financial performance was “satisfactory”.

He revealed the shambles of the SABC’s TV licence department, which has written off R17.7bn in outstanding TV licence fees owing to its “corrupt database”.

James Aguma also revealed that the SABC has run specific TV licence checks on members of parliament to see which parliamentarians are paying SABC TV licences.

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