File picture: Independent Media

Parliament - Without a sizable government guarantee the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would fall apart, veteran journalist Mathatha Tsedu told MPs on Friday.

Tsedu, a member of the interim SABC board, is one of the candidates nominated for a post on the permanent board. 

He was candid as he told MPs of the dire financial straits of the organisation.

"We haven't been able  to find the government guarantee that must really save the SABC, where we are now as an institution we getting by but if we continue without a government guarantee this thing will collapse," Tsedu told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications who are conducting the interviews for the new SABC board.

"The issue around the guarantee is very important so we can go and speak to the banks ... and when that money comes we will be able to attend to other critical issues at SABC."

Tsedu also highlighted the massive looting that occurred at the broadcaster before the old permanent board was dissolved.

"There was a looting campaign and a number of reports now done by the internal forensic unit, even before the SIU gets involved, has shown the modus operandi of how the looting happened," MPs heard.

He said over the last five months on the interim board he's experienced both anguish and exhilaration.

The exhilaration came from the fact that staff had often approached him to say "we now we can breathe".

The anguish came from learning the extent of the rot at the SABC, saying all South Africans were equally to blame for allowing the extent of the degradation to continue. 

Tsedu said the blame should not be shouldered alone by "this boy from QwaQwa", an apparent reference to disgraced former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng

When asked about his views on Thursday's press conference by Motsoeneng in which he said the interim board "are like children waiting for Christmas", Tsedu said he would not dignify the former COO's utterances with a comment.

"I will be defiling this place if I do this."

African news Agency