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Cape Town - The reputational damage suffered by the troubled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has had an impact on the audience numbers of its commercial radio and television stations, with advertisers being hesitant to increase spend, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Acting SABC chief executive James Aguma briefed MPs on the annual performance plan of the broadcaster which last year suffered a net loss of R411 million and was the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. Aguma said its commercial radio stations, Good Hope FM, Metro FM, and Five FM, as well as its television station, SABC3, showed a reduction in audience numbers.

"We found a lot of reputational issues have a direct consequence on the attitude of tv licence payers to meet their requirements and to a certain extent, advertisers are also a bit coy about increasing their advertising spend.," Aguma said. In March, Parliament adopted a scathing report following an inquiry by an ad hoc committee into the broadcaster's affairs.

MPs suggested then Communications Minister Faith Muthambi be fired, and recommended the dissolution of the board, including executive directors like Aguma. The report also found the broadcaster was bleeding money after the auditor general identified R5.1 billion in irregular expenditure.

- African News Agency (ANA)