The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has denied reports that it will sell SABC 3, Metro FM, 5FM, and Good Hope FM as part of radical changes envisioned for the state-owned broadcaster.
“The SABC has been made aware of an article by Inside Politics African Narrative published on 04 February 2020, claiming to have exclusive access to a document titled ‘Repurposing the State-Owned Enterprises as Instruments for Economic Growth’,” the SABC said.
This article states that the state-owned broadcaster could sell SABC 3, Metro FM, 5FM and Good Hope FM and exit commercial broadcasting altogether as part of the radical overhaul proposed by the government.
“Because of the potential uncertainty this information can cause, the SABC believes it is necessary to clarify that it is not intending to sell the assets mentioned in the article and has had no discussions with Government in this regard,” the broadcaster stated.
“As requested by National Treasury and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies, the SABC is conducting a thorough process of assessing all its assets, determining which are core and non-core, taking into account a range of factors including public mandate, licence conditions and financial contribution.”
Not listed for sale
According to the SABC, the board has approved comprehensive assessment criteria for determining “core media assets”, noting that this includes not only channels which contribute to the public mandate but which also help to fund the SABC’s public service obligations.
“The Board has already identified noncore property assets and has drawn up a list of properties for disposal, as required by National Treasury preconditions,” the SABC said.
“The potential disposal of any of the SABC’s media assets involves a much more complex decision matrix, with factors such as the public interest, the public mandate and the future financial sustainability of the SABC being central to any decision.”
The public broadcaster categorically denied that the SABC 3, Metro FM, 5FM, and Good Hope FM media assets had been identified for sale, adding that it aims to deliver public service while also being financially sustainable.
“The SABC remains committed to ensuring that the public service broadcaster fulfils its public service mandate and at the same time striving to be a financially sustainable institution,” the SABC said.