SABC executives for the second time this month met with scepticism from MPs as they pleaded for a lifeline from the state.

PARLIAMENT - SABC executives for the second time this month met with scepticism from MPs as they pleaded for a lifeline from the state and signalled that retrenchments were going ahead.

SABC board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications a new government guarantee was imperative, and suggested only that might enable the public broadcaster to reconsider plans to retrench almost 1,000 permanent staff.

"The most important is to get the guarantee because then we can review all of these projects including retrenchments," Makhathini said.

MPs across the political spectrum criticised him for failing to present the committee with a skills register to enable them to weigh whether the company needed or could afford its staff complement to be trimmed.

"This is not a presentation," the Democratic Alliance's communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said. "We want a proper skills audit. Until then, don't talk to me."

ANC MP Bongani Bongo also chastised the board for failing to provide the committee with the facts it had requested, asking "what to do" when presenters failed to stick to the subject.

Makhathini has vowed to push ahead with the retrenchments and complained of political pressure from parties opposed to the job cuts. He told MPs on Tuesday that the broadcaster's financial situation was so dire that it could not borrow from banks, and it was compounded by the fact that its application for a licence fee increase had been shot down.

The company posted a loss of R622 million in the last financial year and its executives have asked the state for at least R3 billion to keep it afloat.

- African News Agency (ANA)