The SABC wants to use the services of the State Security Agency (SSA) to spy on its staff members, the Sunday Times reports.
The newspaper has seen notes from a special meeting on 9 October that show a suggestion was made by the SABC board to “manage leaks” of sensitive information.
According to the Sunday Times, the board proposed that the process includes the vetting and monitoring of staff.
The notes indicated that the previous board had also employed the SSA for surveillance.
“The issue regarding the leaking of sensitive information to the public and the media was raised as a concern as it had negative impact on revenue and the reputation of the board,” the notes read.
SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo confirmed that the SABC is a national key point and accordingly works with the SSA on a number of issues in accordance with the law, but denied that the engagement involves the vetting of journalists.
The Sunday Times said the board’s apparent resolution has been slammed by labour unions and civil rights organisations.
They said that previously-leaked information was not classified and was used to bring attention to gross mismanagement and wrongdoing.
SABC’s financial woes
The SABC is facing an enormous financial crisis, with growing debt and a lack of cash.
In September, the SABC’s Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon said that the broadcaster was technically insolvent and was struggling to pay service providers.
She indicated that the SABC’s cash balance was R72 million at the end of the previous financial year, but a bill of R1.8 billion was due to service providers as at June 2019.
“There are instances where we are unable to honour payments and even (unable) to adhere to committed contracts, which means we often need to renegotiate because we have been unable to meet the requirements,” van Biljon said.
The SABC’s inability to pay service providers was made apparent by a petition created by local musician David Scott, calling on the broadcaster to settle its royalty debt with artists.