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Parliament, Cape Town - The apparent disappearance of close to R1 billion in SABC licence fees has been clarified, Parliament's communications committee said on Wednesday.
“The clarification is that the SABC did not record licence fees revenue on an accrual basis as required by the accounting standard,” committee chairman Eric Kholwane said.
Instead, the pubic broadcaster recorded the revenue from television licence sales on a cash basis.
On a cash basis, income was not counted until cash was actually received.
The more widely used method in South Africa, the accrual method, involved recording transactions regardless of whether the money had actually been received.
“We therefore call upon South Africans not to be misled into thinking that the SABC has not accounted for licence fees, and as a result doubt the need to pay licence fees,” Kholwane said.
Earlier, the committee was briefed by the Auditor General's (AG) office on its findings on the broadcaster's 2012/13 annual report.
AG Terence Nombembe gave the corporation a disclaimer of opinion Ä the worst audit opinion possible.
The findings included that the SABC was unable to account for more than R1.5b in spending.
In addition, Nombembe found he was “unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for the amounts disclosed as TV licence fees of R913.8m”.
The matter involving the licence fees was explained by the AG's office.