Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Minister of communications Dina Pule can't give parliament a report on SABC's loan guarantee, 'needs time to familiarise myself with the SABC'.

The new minister of communications, Dina Pule, told parliament's portfolio committee on communications today that she can't give feedback on the SABC - especially the government's loan guarantee of R1,4 billion made to the SABC in 2009 - and requested an extension to first get up to date with the affairs of South Africa's public broadcaster.

Meanwhile Dina Pule revealed that the SABC wants the targets of the loan guarantee to be changed and that the department of communications is looking at that.

''We ask that we be allowed extra time before presenting the issues of the SABC to the parliamentary portfolio committee,'' Dina Pule said. ''As I arrived there and found what I found there as the status quo, my take is that I would need some time to familiarise myself firstly with the SABC and also the turnaround plan and the situation at the SABC.''

''I'm only two weeks at the department and it can only be fair that I be given an opportunity to try and understand and find my feet in the department. There's things I need to familiarise myself with the SABC,'' she said.

South Africa's government provided a government guarantee to the SABC in 2009 to secure a loan from Nedbank. The loan was intended to relieve the financial crisis at the SABC. This guarantee was provided on the basis of commitments made by the SABC that it would develop and implement a turnaround plan. The SABC's ability to repay these funds is dependent on the successful implementation of this turnaround plan.

Dina Pule revealed that the SABC wants the targets of the government loan guarantee to be changed and said that she is currently studying the business case that underpins the request ''to revise the targets for the government guarantee, and will then make a decision''.

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