SABC in the red by R605m
Johannesburg - The SABC is expected to post a loss of nearly R605 million this financial year.
This was revealed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni following his Budget.
According to the estimates of national expenditure released during the Budget, the troubled public broadcaster is estimated to suffer a loss of R604.8m in the financial year ending on March 31. This will decrease to R302.3m in 2020/21.
The SABC posted a loss of R482.4m in the year that ended in March last year. Its revenue also declined by 3%.
Mboweni announced during his Budget speech that the public broadcaster would receive the remaining R1.1billion of its R3.2bn bailout before the end of next month.
National Treasury has admitted that the SABC has experienced significant financial challenges over the past three financial years due to a decrease in viewership, listenership and revenue, and projects deficits of R302m in 2020/21, R194m in 2021/22 and R446m in 2022/23.
Budget documents also show that the SABC’s staff complement of 3245 will remain constant over the next three years despite threatening to retrench 981 permanent employees and 1200 freelancers last year.
The broadcaster wants to focus on finalising and implementing its turnaround strategy, which aims to invest in new and compelling content to attract audiences, advertisers and increase revenue.
An amount of R3.2bn has been allocated to the SABC for the strategy and it plans to spend R2bn on buying rights for all sporting codes of national interest.
In the next three years total expenditure is expected to increase from R8bn in 2019/20 to R8.9bn in 2022/23.
The SABC expects to generate 97.3% of its revenue through licence fees, commercial revenue from advertising, and sport sponsorship across television, radio and online platforms.
Its total revenue is also expected to increase from the current R7.4bn to an estimated R8.5bn in 2022/23.
The Department of Communication and Digital Technologies will give the SABC R648m to subsidise functions including public broadcasting, programme productions, and support for Channel Africa.
The leaders of the two unions representing SABC employees, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union and the CWU, were not available for comment.