SABC loses R910 million

The loss could not only be blamed on the economic situation, chairperson of the interim board Irene Charnley said in a statement on Thursday.

“The economic downturn inevitably impacted on the SABC’s revenue, however it would be disingenuous to blame this alone for the results. The very public and sustained battles at a leadership level, for example, undoubtedly also contributed towards inadequate management of revenue and expenditure.”

The SABC’s annual report and audited financial statements ending 31 March 2009 were submitted to Parliament on Thursday.

Revenue increased 0.9 percent (from R4.705m in 2008 to R4.746m in 2009) while expenditure increased 19 percent.

According to the chief financial officer’s statement in the report, other problems that negatively impacted on revenue included “schedule instability” and an increase in discounts offered to clients and agencies.

Charnley also noted the statements reflected a payment by the previous board of R6.7 million to former chief executive officer Dali Mpofu.

External auditors gave the SABC a qualified report saying: “The director’s report gives details of the auditor general’s special investigation on procurement, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and non-compliance with company policies and indicates that the interim board is in the process of taking the appropriate action in relation to the allegations… In the meanwhile, we are unable to determine whether the various allegations and other matters that are still being investigated have an impact on the financial position…. as disclosed in the financial statements. We are also unable to determine whether the disclosure of fruitless and wasteful and irregular expenditure is complete…”

Charnley emphasised that the SABC’s positive achievements should not be overlooked.

“Notwithstanding the corporate governance and financial challenges the corporation has faced, on-air and off-air staff continued day after day, hour after hour to ensure programmes went out on radio and television, keeping millions of South Africans informed.”

Charnley said the process of fixing the SABC’s problems would take time, leadership and commitment.

“There are no quick fixes to a crisis of this magnitude.”

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SABC loses R910 million