Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says she is in consultations with her counterparts in other departments to seek ways of resolving the current problems at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
She was addressing the National Assembly on Tuesday on the situation at the public broadcaster.
Ndabeni-Abrahams maintains that market conditions are largely to blame for the situation in which the SABC has found itself.
She says most of the SABC’s revenue comes from advertising, despite it being a public broadcaster.
The SABC has suspended the retrenchment of as many as 400 staff until the end of December to allow for further consultations.
Ndabeni Abrahams says her department and National Treasury are looking into a new funding model for the SABC’s public broadcasting mandate.
“We are currently considering the increment of TV licence fees subject to improve on collection methods. We recently published policies which propose the following interventions: the reorganisation of the SABC in view of the public slash commercial division debate, review of the funding model for public service model and content of national interest. The SABC must review its signal distribution model to respond to the new normal and optimise on its signal distribution costs,” says Ndabeni-Abrahams.
In the video below, Ndabeni-Abrahams comments on the extension of suspension process:
“Pay your TV licences”
Ndabeni-Abrahams also urged South Africans to pay their SABC TV licences in a bid to alleviate the SABC’s financial crisis.
She has also blamed state capture for the SABC’s woes.
“The SABC was embroiled in the state capture and all of us here must take the blame because it happened under our watch. We need to look into re-modelling the SABC as a public broadcaster into a multi-channel broadcaster we want. Let’s start paying our TV licences, the SABC’s success depends on three cans; the I can, you can and we can.”
Judgment in reversing redundancy letters
Meanwhile, judgment is expected to be handed down today in the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union’s (BEMAWU) urgent application in the Labour Court in Johannesburg for an order to compel the SABC to withdraw redundancy letters.
The union also wants the public broadcaster to engage in a fair process regarding its restructuring plans which could see as many as 400 permanent staff members lose their jobs.
The SABC has argued that the restructuring is necessary to make the public broadcaster financially sustainable.
SABC management has defended its restructuring plans and says BEMAWU’s court application is not urgent, as the retrenchment process has been put on hold until the end of the month.