JOHANNESBURG - Former Road Accident Fund (RAF) chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon will today start the unenviable task of sorting out the cash flow problems at the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). 

The public broadcaster yesterday said Van Biljon’s appointment was effective from today and she would next week be joined by new chief executive Madoda Mxakwe. 

The chairperson of the board, Bongumusa Makhathini, said the two appointments would strengthen the organisation’s position as a credible and reliable public service content provider. 

“As part of the continuous efforts to bring stability, the SABC is in the process of finalising other group executives appointments in order achieve sound governance in all the SABC’s business units,” Makhathini said. 

Mxakwe, who has recently served as Nestle’s country head responsible for Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, previously served as a spokesperson for the Department of Public Service and Administration under former minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi. 

Mxakwe and Van Biljon join Chris Maroleng who was appointed as chief operations officer earlier this year, replacing the controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng. 

The organisation has in recent months also filled the key positions of the head of internal audit, the human resources group executive, and the group executive for news and current affairs . 

Cash Crunch 

The two will have to hit the ground running as the broadcaster is facing a cash crunch that threatens its solvency. 

The 2016/17 financial year was another watershed year for the SABC with all the hallmarks of a firm under enormous financial strain. 

The SABC posted a net loss after tax of R977 million in the year, while its cash and cash equivalents were R82m compared to the previous year’s R881m. 

The public broadcaster also received an adverse audit opinion on the going concern basis of its accounting and its irregular expenditure. 

Van Biljon’s previous work at state-owned entities also included a stint at Denel Dynamics, a division of Denel SOC Ltd, as manager for finance accounting and later as its chief financial officer. 

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, which has been on the SABC’s case for the past few years, said it would have to look into Mxakwe and Van Biljon’s backgrounds before it could comment on their appointments. 

Former SABC board member Rachel Kalidass resigned in a huff last year amid allegations the company was considering appointing former Land Bank boss Alan Mukoki as SABC chief executive. 

The appointment never materialised. The SABC is currently sifting through allegations of editorial interference and sexual harassment. 

The company last week announced chairpersons of the two recently established highlevel commissions of inquiry into the allegations. 

Dr Joe Thloloe will chair the inquiry relating to editorial interference in the newsroom and Barbara Watson will chair the sexual harassment inquiry.