The SABC is experiencing no financial crisis. In fact, the auditor-general is “very happy” with the state of the public broadcaster’s finances, said SABC board member Aaron Tshidzumba on Tuesday.
He was part of a delegation from the public broadcaster, which also included communications minister Faith Muthambi, who briefed parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.
The SABC will table its annual financial report on 30 September 2016 and the auditor-general, Tshidzumba said, only highlighted one matter. This signifies progress, he said.
James Aguma, new CEO at the SABC, also slammed the negative reports about the public broadcaster, denying that there’s “chaos”.
“Chaos is such an interesting word,” he said, reiterating that the public broadcaster has made significant progress with its financial reporting.
Aguma further said the SABC was not making losses, but that it was rather “carrying costs” for delivering a service to the public.
“I need to paint this picture: imagine I need to compete against Wayde van Niekerk [the South African 400m athlete who recently won a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games], but they put a 10kg bag on my shoulders. What would happen?”
This is what running public money is about, said Aguma.
“The SABC is carrying the 10kg bag. I challenge anyone to make a profit at the SABC without having to cut sports and other important programmes,” he said.
“I can switch off the news and you’ll have a billion [rand] in profit,” Aguma said.
He also took issue with those who criticised the SABC for deciding to no longer read out newspaper headlines on the air in the mornings.
“The newspapers are commercial entities, but they want free advertising. If you want advertising, pay for it.”