SABC revenue generation on the up despite current strained economic environment: Mxakwe

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SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe says the public broadcaster’s revenue generation has been improving on a monthly and quarterly basis despite the current strained economic environment.

He says the SABC News has also achieved 97% of its turnaround strategy but still needs to work hard to grow revenue for sustainability.  

Mxakwe virtually briefed the NCOP’s Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communications on the SABC’s plans to address its operational and financial challenges.

“When we got even the bailout, there were certain preconditions that came with a variety of activities in line with all our strategic pillars as the SABC. These have been properly fulfilled and thanks to the commitment and the hard work of all the SABC employees that have ensured that we are now at 93% of implementation of the turnaround plan. But the very important thing for us is to ensure that we develop a huge appetite when it comes to revenue growth and we have seen particularly in a very strained economic environment that month-on-month and quarter-to-quarter, we have significantly improved when it comes to revenue generation.” 

SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini says it is important for Pay-TV industry roleplayers to help in the collection of TV licence fees.

Makathini was speaking in his opening remarks when he appeared virtually before the NCOP’s Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communications.

The SABC is briefing the committee on plans to address the operational and financial challenges of the public broadcaster.

Currently, some SABC channels and content are aired for free on DTSV.

Makhathini says the proposal for future TV license collection will need Pay-TV roleplayers on board.

“Our bid to collect revenue from the TV license, we have made submission on that in terms of how we see the future of TV licenses, but our ability to collect as much as we can in that area is really getting Pay TV (role)players assisting us in those efforts of collecting. It’s important. Of course, with the pandemic, there is a decline in advertising revenue and the SABC, of course, is also affected by what is happening globally in terms of our ability to attract advertising revenue because of the pandemic.”

Earlier this month, Deputy Minister for Communications Philly Mapulane expressed concern about the SABC’s poor financial performance as identified by the Auditor-General. He said this could impact its ongoing status.

Of major concern was the report that the SABC has only managed to raise revenue of R5 billion while expenditure exceeded R6 billion.

Mapulane said Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was dealing with this matter in order to try and help the SABC to turn the corner.

He added, however, that the Ministry is satisfied with the overall state of the SABC and that it has attained governance and leadership stability.

“If not much is done in terms of ramping up revenues and reducing expenditure we may find ourselves in a situation which is untenable. Of concern is the declining revenue in terms of advertising which we have also expressed with the SABC to take effort to make sure they address the area of concern.”