The Chairperson of Parliament Portfolio Committee on Communications, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, says the SABC needs urgent financial assistance.

Mkhize says it is critical for the SABC to get a bailout to carry out its public mandate.

Her comments come ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s maiden budget speech on Wednesday afternoon.

“The SABC for too long has had problems with good governance. If they could be strengthened financially, that would be the first step towards ensuring that it takes its rightful place. We have to be much stricter in terms of ensuring that they don’t slide back to the weaknesses they’ve had in the past, which led to the situation they are in now.”

Meanwhile, Mkhize has commended Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for taking responsibility for an incident in which she blocked the media including an SABC television news crew from covering a service delivery protest.

The protesters attempted to disrupt the launch of the 2019 Eastern Cape African National Congress (ANC) election manifesto at a stadium in Mount Frere earlier this month.

Mkhize says she spoke to Ndabeni-Abrahams after the incident.

“I have really been impressed with the manner in which she has been transparent, nobody had to dig anything. She just said at that moment, that’s how I reacted and I think her apology is genuine, from talking to her. She fully understands the role of the SABC. That was also a political rally, it wasn’t a government function.”