“SABC salaries not guaranteed over next three months”

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South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini says he cannot give any guarantee that the public broadcaster will be able to pay salaries and the thirteenth cheques over the next three months.

He says the SABC is currently depending on month to month survival to keep afloat and to be operational.

Makhathini was speaking to SABC News in Parliament.

He says the public broadcaster’s debt stands at over R1.3-billion with no commitment of financial assistance from government or banks.

“Reality is that every month is a scramble of how and who you pay first so I can’t guarantee anything beyond where we are now and that’s why I am saying time is not on our side. We have to start implementing our turnaround to see if we can save the situation…I mean we have requested government guarantees over a year; we are not receiving it. We have engaged with banks but we have not had any banks committing to give us money.”

Makhathini adds that there is turning back on SABC Board plans to cut the salary bill as this was part of the conditions of a previous government guarantee that was never implemented.

He says cutting the huge annual salary bill of over 3 billion rand remains part of the board’s turnaround strategy.

“You will recall that in 2009 when SABC got a government guarantee, one of the conditions was that they had to cut their salary bill and they didn’t and this is what this board is doing now to say part of the conditions of 2009 was not complied with. And that’s why we are saying let it be seen to be executing and meeting the conditions that were given to us. This is one example where clearly it was said to the SABC tackle your costs for this business to be sustainable and this was never done.”

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