Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The SABC will be able to pay all its creditors after it receives a bailout of R2.1 billion from the National Treasury. The public broadcaster will also ensure that the outstanding R1.1bn in bailouts will cover its remaining creditors in due course.

This was the commitment by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in Parliament yesterday, where she was answering questions.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said: “Out of the R2.1bn we got from the National Treasury, the SABC has paid R1.3bn to the people it owed (money).

“According to the application we submitted, some of the funds were going to settle the debt, and some to buy equipment.

“There is R1.1bn that is outstanding. As soon as we meet all the conditions from the department and National Treasury, we will get that money and settle the debt.”

She said while the SABC had initially applied for a bailout of R6.8bn, they had conducted an assessment with the National Treasury.

They found that the SABC would urgently need R3.2bn.

She said the chief restructuring officer, who had yet to be appointed, would monitor the use of money and cost-containment measures, and that the department would from now on be more careful about how funds were used at the SABC to avoid it being thrown into another crisis.

“With the appointment of the chief restructuring officer we will be able to see these things on time and report on time,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Concerning the assets of the SABC, the minister said they needed to look at which ones they could sell or lease.

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni previously said these were some of the reform measures the government needed to implement to fix ailing state-owned entities.

Eskom has since been asked to sell its loan book for about R7bn. This will enable it to acquire funds.

Denel is also identifying assets it can dispose of after it also received a bailout from the National Treasury.

The Treasury has identified some of the SOEs as a major risk to the economy.

SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said they wanted to find new sources of revenue.

He said one of the things which could be done was to increase licence fees for television, saying this would increase the revenue of the SABC significantly.

Meanwhile Madoda Mxakwe, the SABC’s chief executive, said the public broadcaster was losing plenty of money, and that new plans to obtain a “must carry fee” would boost the broadcaster as most content was carried on pay TV.

Ndabeni-Abrahams added that the public broadcaster was a critical player in the sector.

Political Bureau