At a media briefing in Tshwane on Friday morning, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced that a R3.2 billion bailout for struggling public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been approved by National Treasury.
R2.1 billion would be handed over to the SABC on Monday, with the remaining R1.1 billion to be transferred once “all conditions were met”, Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, the appointment of a new board was one condition for the bailout.
“As they requested that we appoint a new board, it was appointed, hence you see the chairperson seated on my right,” she said.
Another condition will be the broadcaster opening up about its finances each month.
“To ensure compliance with the funding conditions, SABC is expected to present its monthly financial status to the department of communications.”
The massive amount of money being given to the SABC will not be enough, according to the minister.
“The SABC turnaround requires more than R3.2 billion short term funding,” she said, adding that the broadcaster has submitted a turnaround plan which will detail their short, medium and longterm turnaround strategy, and which is being reviewed. This will lead to further engagement with National Treasury regarding funding.
The SABC plays “an integral role to inform, educate and entertain the public,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said, adding that her department was committed to helping the broadcaster “effectively discharge its mandate while being a commercially viable” company.
“I appreciate the support that has been provided by the finance minister and his team as well as the deputy minister, Pinky Kekana,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said, before taking questions from the media.
This follows the broadcaster confirming earlier this week that government’s pre-conditions for the bailout had been met.
Treasury has demanded the appointment of a chief restructuring officer (CRO) to lead the broadcaster’s turnaround in return for the bailout.
“Upon finalisation and agreement with the minister of finance, the appointment process for the CRO will be expedited,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
This follows the appointment of Freeman Nomvalo as CRO for Eskom, which is currently exposed to R430 billion of debt.
SAA is also looking for a CRO.
A recent advert for this appointment stated that the incumbent would be expected to “facilitate and drive the re-engineering and restructuring of SAA and its subsidiaries for optimal performance and profitability”.
The airline currently has R5.7 billion of debt and reportedly needs an additional R2 billion by December to fund its working capital requirements.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, Eric Levenstein, Moneyweb.)