Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fears mounting that the SABC that is on the edge of imminent collapse, will be forced into a national broadcasting blackout over not getting its long-delayed bailout.

Fears are growing that the SABC on the edge of imminent collapse will be forced into a national broadcasting blackout with the South African public broadcasting still unsure of whether it will be able to pay salaries at the end of June or when the money of a billion rand government bailout will bring relief.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the minister of communications met with the SABC board on Friday but there is still no certainty at all as to when the SABC will get the first tranche - around R3.2 billion of around R6.8 billion that is needed and has been asked for - of a bailout from the South African government.

Meanwhile the SABC is inching ever close to having its broadcasting operations completely seize up with no guarantee that its over 5 000 staffers will be paid by the end of the month.

The SABC is no longer able to pay for basic services like electricity from the City of Johannesburg and has mounting debts of over R1.8 billion that is payable to service and content providers.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on Thursday evening made a promise that the "SABC is not going to get any blackout" but insiders are extremely worried and concerned about how she will prevent this since there's been no money forthcoming with the SABC that needs to run its payroll from the end of the coming week.

According to Yolande van Biljon, chief financial officer (CFO), the SABC's "Day Zero" - when it will be forced into a shutdown and be unable to broadcast - can happen any day if the slightest thing go wrong operations wise at the beleaguered public broadcaster, or if service or content providers who are owed hundreds of millions of rand decided they want their money and will no longer provide services, access and content to the struggling corporation.

The SABC owes hundreds of millions of rand to production companies and independent producers in South Africa who are massively struggling themselves to keep their companies afloat, pay their staffers, and keep active productions making episodes for the SABC running.

The Bemawu trade union at the SABC met with Madoda Mxakwe on Thursday this past week and told trade union members in an email that the ongoing problem with the SABC getting its bailout is because "the SABC is part of a collective of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) asking for a government bailout".