SABC reports R511 million net loss for 2019/2020 financial year

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has tabled its 2019 and 2020 Annual Report in Parliament.

According to a statement released by the SABC on Tuesday, “While the corporation faced another difficult year that was further compounded by depressed economic activities that particularly affected revenue generation, the public can be reassured that the building blocks to stabilise the corporation are now in place.”

SABC annual report below:

The corporation says, at the end of March, it reported a net loss of R511 million, a 6% decline compared to the previous year, but a 20% better performance against budget.

“In a challenging economic environment, total revenue declined by 12% year-on-year to R5.7 billion. The decline can be attributed primarily to a decrease in advertising spend across the industry and the delay in finalising commercial partnerships on digital platforms. TV licence revenue has also come under pressure under difficult economic conditions for our audiences,” reads the statement in part.

The SABC has also reported that the “total expenses were under budget” which they have attributed to cash flow constraints that led to a significant decline of investment in content, infrastructure, repairs and maintenance and marketing.

“There was a resultant 28% decline in content investment and a 16% decline in other operational expenditure,” says the SABC in the statement, although they were quick to caution that, “despite this, the Cost-to-Income ratio of 110%, remains completely unsustainable.”

The corporation, which has constantly been in the news lately owing to imminent retrenchments, says it continues to implement its Turnaround Plan “with purpose and commitment.”

The corporation says it remains confident that it is on track to deliver on its objectives, “taking into account, the emerging revenue-generating opportunities, including commercial partnerships, the anticipated investment in exciting, compelling and cutting-edge content, the migration to digital platforms, the implementation of a new operating model and continued efforts to reduce major cost drivers.”

SABC releases annual financial results:

CWU threatens full-blown strike

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says it will soon embark on a full-blown strike against the SABC‘s restructuring process, which could see as many as 400 full-time employees lose their jobs.

A group of workers embarked on a lunch-hour picket at the public broadcaster’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg yesterday, to protest against the restructuring process.

They were joined by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members as well as the South African Federation of Trade Unions'(Saftu) Zwelinzima Vavi.

Addressing the gathering, CWU General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said labour unions are currently engaged in two processes at the SABC.

“One is we have to interdict. That’s what comrades at Bemawu will do. CWU will announce once it gets a certificate to embark on a fully-fledged strike. We’re going to announce sometime this week, and we’re going to make a call to all SABC workers, affected or not affected, let us make sure that there’s a blackout at the SABC. But this is the beginning of protests, marches, not only here, but across the nation.”

Close to a hundred SABC employees embark on lunchtime picket

Vavi warns against commercialisation

Vavi has warned against commercialising the SABC, saying retrenchments will compromise the public broadcaster’s mandate.

The SABC announced last week that it’s going ahead with retrenchments and wants to complete the process by the end of this year.

Vavi says the SABC’s current funding model is a notch away from commercialisation and the move by the public broadcaster will hit its capacity and therefore, deviate from its core mandate.

“That’s commercialisation for you and that’s austerity. The government is refusing to come to the party because it dare not increase that 3% funding. The result of it is that SABC’s capacity is going to decline big time, the next thing that we’re going to see is that there will be no journalist in the far outlining rural areas which SABC is the only institution that is currently covering because it is a public institution which has a mandate.”

Vavi says SABC retrenchments will affect the public broadcaster’s mandate:

Jobs, as many as 400, are on the line at the SABC. That’s as management says it will press on with the retrenchment plan.