Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Communications. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Tuesday announced that the public broadcaster was still in trouble and suffered a net loss of R622million in the financial year ending in March. In the 2016/17 financial year, the public broadcaster posted a loss of R977m.

“The SABC has been given borrowing powers and a borrowing limit of up to R1.2bn by the National Treasury in line with the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) and the responsibilities of the board of directors of the SABC,” said Mokonyane.

However, the minister insisted on Tuesday that there had been significant progress made on clearing all internal and external audit findings to improve internal controls.

“The Auditor-General has highlighted the viability of the SABC as a going concern and, to this end, as the shareholder working with the board, our engagements with the National Treasury have been concluded and the National Treasury has granted consent for the SABC to increase its borrowing limits from the capital markets in line with the PFMA and the Broadcasting Act,” reads a statement from Mokonyane’s department.

Mokonyane said a turnaround task team comprising her department, the Treasury and the SABC had been set up, and the Treasury had assigned a turnaround specialist to look into the strategy. “Such a strategy will provide a holistic assessment of the broadcaster and identify ways to guarantee the future sustainability of the SABC,” she said.

According to Mokonyane, the SABC board and management had presented to her and the portfolio committee reports on the current financial crisis at the broadcaster.

She said they had been assured that SABC employees would continue to receive their salaries.

Suppliers owed by the public broadcaster had been in engagements with it and there had been progress in effecting payments to creditors.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications unanimously decided to return the Broadcasting Amendment Bill to Mokonyane’s office.

Mokonyane’s predecessor, Faith Muthambi, introduced the bill, which, if passed into law, would have removed Parliament’s role in appointing SABC board members and reduce them from 12 to nine, and the requirement for the board to quorate from nine members to seven.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme welcomed the committee’s decision.

The Star