Sunday, August 5, 2018

SABC at death's door as public broadcaster's inability to pay producers is 'the worst it has ever been' - report.

The embattled South African public broadcaster is at death's door and once again hovering on the verge of collapse, owing over R90 million to independent local production companies it can't pay and R100 million in total to over 64 companies, the City Press newspaper reported on Sunday.

According to the report's sources the SABC's inability to pay producers supplying content to the SABC the situation is "the worst it's ever been".

It follows after the struggling SABC in the week literally told producers in a letter sent on 30 July, literally a day before they were supposed to be paid, that the SABC once again - as happened in mid-2017 - is out of cash and can't pay them.

While the SABC told producers that the broadcaster is scrambling to try and find money to pay them in a new payment plan, nobody knows where the broadcaster's new CEO, Madoda Mxakwe and chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon will be able to find the money in two week's time to settle millions of rand in overdue payments to producers.

Producers meanwhile have sent the SABC over the last few months letters of demand and notices breach of contract for not paying production companies what they're owed, on time, while the bloated SABC sitting with an oversized staff, are once again busy with salary hike negotiations with unions.

Earlier in the week, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the SABC won't be talking about the SABC's crisis and failure to pay producers in public, although the issue is in the public eye and being reported on.

According to the City Press report, sources blame the destruction on the the famously matricless and now-fired former chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng until he was fired in 2017 wreaked on the SABC during his chaotic tenure during a period marked by financial and fiscal chaos, mismanagement and corruption, SABC News censorship, a litany of firings in the newsroom and content divisions, SABC board instability and an overall lack of governance at the broadcaster.

Advertising income of the SABC's radio stations and TV channels, especially the struggling SABC3 have plummeted, because of a fall in listenership and viewership as well as lower than usual listenership growth, meaning less advertising revenue for the broadcaster since ad rates are pegged to ratings.

The disastrous SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC Encore (DStv 156) the two channels the SABC produce for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform exclusively using public broadcaster resources and content, have also deteriorated further, with the contract that will be running out at the end of August and that hasn't yet been renewed, that is up for possible renewal.