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ANC welcomes SABC Turn-around Strategy

26 September 2018

The ANC Study Group on Communications welcomes the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) Turn-around Strategy aimed at restoring the financial viability of the public broadcaster. The Deputy Minister of Communications, comrade Pinky Kekana and the SABC Board, presented the SABC's Turn-around Strategy to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, 25 September 2018.

In presenting their cost-cutting drive to ease the broadcaster's financial challenges, the Board listed the following as their major cost drivers: Employee costs (42%), Programme, Film and Sports Rights (23%), Signal distribution and linkage costs (6%) and Broadcast costs (5%). We commend that, despite the ongoing rumours of retrenchments, the SABC Board has clarified to Parliament that retrenchments are a last resort and that they are in ongoing engagements with organised labour as part of finding means to cut costs.

The report also highlighted the SABC's major revenue streams, which are; Advertising (71%), TV Licence Fees (14%) and Sponsorships (6%). We take note of the fact that out of the 9 million registered TV License accounts, only 1,8 million are paid. This therefore means that the SABC is missing a potential R2.3 Billion in TV Licence Fees annually, which would inadvertently assist in resolving some of the SABC's financial shortcomings. We therefore strongly urge South Africans to desist from not paying their licences as this is one of the main channels to generate revenue and save jobs at the SABC.

The announcement that the SABC and Cricket South Africa have entered into a partnership for the Global T20 Cricket Tournament is most welcome. This partnership gives the SABC exclusive official broadcast rights for the Sub-Saharan region. We believe that this initiative, and future similar ones, will result in the SABC regaining its lost viewership. We also welcome plans to introduce a free parliamentary channel, among other potential channels, to ensure that all South Africans have free access to the activities of Parliament.

Having welcomed the Turn-around Strategy, we must state that it will only have its desired effect if all stakeholders work together in the interest of getting our public broadcaster back on track. As Parliament, we will continue to closely monitor the implementation of these plans as part of our ongoing oversight work to ensure that stability, sustainability and public confidence is restored in our public broadcaster.

Issued by the Whip of the ANC Study Group on Communications, comrade Mziwamadoda Kalako.


Nonceba Mhlauli

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