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Dlodlo, Gigaba to meet over SABC bailout

Politics
Johannesburg – Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is expected to meet her finance counterpart Malusi Gigaba this week over a funding request the SABC had made to the National Treasury.

Dlodlo hinted that such a meeting is likely to take place after she appeared before the communications portfolio committee last week.

But she is keeping the amount requested under wraps.

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Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is expected to meet Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba over a funding request the SABC had made to Treasury. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/DoC

“I will reveal the figure after our discussions. It will be done this week, or on Tuesday or Wednesday next week,” Dlodlo said when pushed to disclose the amount requested to bail out the public broadcaster.

The document sent to her office by the SABC apparently had some gaps, which necessitated reworking before being sent to National Treasury.

An apparent glaring omission was the funding required to enable the SABC to move from analogue to digital.

“They did not make any contingency plans for that move. I then requested them to take back the document because it had not properly taken into account cost of the migration,” she said.

“It has now been finalised. The document will now be taken to Treasury to request whatever funds will assist.”

Another possibility, Dlodlo said, could be an arrangement for a government-backed guarantee.

She gave an assurance that the funding request would not affect the service delivery budget already committed in the fiscus.

There were fears that the budget could be reprioritised to divert funds from delivery of services and used instead to bail out the ailing SABC.

Last week, the SABC told Parliament that its finances were “not looking so good”.

Acting chief executive Tseliso Ralitabo told MPs that the total revenue for the fourth quarter in 2016/17 was R1.6billion, which was down by R353million.

This translated to a 20% decline, compared to the same quarter the previous year.

Ralitabo also said the SABC’s performance in the financial year that ended in March showed an operating loss of R509m.

The SABC has started a process to fill vacant top posts, but Dlodlo is contemplating bringing in a “caretaker” to act as chief executive.

But, some people earmarked for this position were found to have already applied.

“I have not totally discarded the possibility of bringing in someone, even from another state-owned enterprise,” Dlodlo said.

Political Bureau

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