AfriForum appealed to the government to privatise the SABC. This follows after it recently came to light that the SABC is in a serious financial predicament and not able to pay employees.
Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, says that the SABC has been facing one embarrassment after another in recent times. During 2016 more than 100 SABC employees submitted complaints with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) due to unfair dismissal. A skills audit compiled in 2014 found that amongst others 60% of senior managers do not comply with the minimum requirements for strategic thinking on management level and 56% do not have the sufficient competency in problem solving.
The amount of government intervention at the SABC is also one of the leading reasons cited by Freedom House, the international watchdog organisation, for why South Africa’s press can described as only “partly free”.
“The only reason why this crisis continues is because the SABC is a state institution that reports to the government. Lifebuoys can be cast out to save the SABC every time it is in a financial crisis, which boils down to incompetent managers being protected in their positions due to their political connections. The free-market system, and the competition that is inherently part of the private sector, will eliminate these levels of mismanagement. Privatisation will force the SABC to face the unpleasant facts and make more responsible management decisions,” says Roets.
City Press reported on Sunday that an internal memorandum, directed at the managers of the SABC, recently leaked out. The memorandum reads: “We have only R104m available to pay creditors on March 31,” as well as “requests for payment from the divisions are more than what is available”.
Consequently, the SABC compiled a list of critical vendors that include municipalities, universities and Telkom. A total of R30 million was set aside for this purpose. The balance will be allocated to the various divisions based on the percentage of use/spend in terms of payments to creditors per division.