The SABC owes over R100 million to 64 companies and is operating on a hand-to-mouth basis, according to a report by the City Press.
The report stated that the SABC owes R90 million of the unpaid bills to independent TV producers, which comes off the back of a drop in audience numbers and a sharp decline in advertising revenue.
“There are no reserves left, there’s no buffer. The broadcaster is living week to week, hand to mouth,” a source told the City Press.
Another source stated that although SABC executives are putting together a payment plan for August, there does not seem to be a plan for long-term survival.
“I can’t see how this entity will survive unless something drastic happens,” said the source.
A third source told the publication that the actions of former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng are to blame for the SABC’s problems.
Independent media consultant Britta Reid agreed with this assessment, and stated that Motsoeneng’s decisions during his time at the SABC have resulted in poor advertising sales.
Motsoeneng was fired from the SABC in 2017 for bringing the broadcaster into disrepute, and his decision to implement a 90% local music quota on radio stations is one of the key decisions hurting advertising revenue today.
Local content directives on schedules, audiences, and advertisers have also hit the SABC’s TV channels hard – particularly SABC 3’s advertising revenue.
All the sources who spoke to the City Press stated that the government will have to give the SABC a guarantee so it can get a bank loan to stay afloat.
The statement follows a report that the government is looking to review SABC TV licence fees.
It also plans to look at a new funding model for the SABC.