The Congress of South African Trade Unions is appalled that only a month after the Sunday Independent reported that the SABC had run up a deficit of R500m, the Mail & Guardian has reported that the deficit now stands at R700m. If both these reports are correct, the public broadcaster has lost R200m in a single month!
For the last three years the SABC has made a profit - of R383m in 2006, R182.8m in 2007 and R111.3m in 2008. Yet now in 2009 it is reported to have a huge R700m deficit. Moreover when the SABC presented its annual report to Parliament last year it did not indicate that there were serious financial crises at the broadcaster, nor were any indications given during press conferences about the SABC's budget for election coverage.
The trade union BEMAWU has made allegations that, if correct, paint a damning picture of greed and mismanagement at the SABC which could explain how the deficit built up. Their claims include that:
- The SABC has appointed 23 General Managers at the Content Hub with huge car subsidies (they believe R10 000 per month x 23 = R 2.7M a year) and not a single employee reporting to them.
- They have spent R3.5M on one court case in KZN (a case where 4 employees allegedly tendered on behalf of another employee when the SABC sold obsolete motor vehicles)
- The Intercom (SABC Internal Magazine) is printed at an enormous cost on very expensive paper whilst normal paper and the Intranet are much cheaper options.
- Senior management all went to Beijing on SABC cost to watch the Olympics
- Senior management have all received performance bonuses whilst they have clearly not performed,
- News is costing us millions, like the Satlink to the US, costing, they believe, R4M per month to broadcast to Africans in America.
COSATU once again calls upon the President urgently to sign the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, which gives parliament the right to remove the SABC Board.
Parliament must then investigate whether these reports of a financial crisis are true. If so it can then use the powers granted to it in the Act to fire the present SABC Board, which has always been unrepresentative, and if the allegations are true, will also be clearly shown to be totally incompetent and incapable of controlling the corporation’s finances. It must be replaced by a board which truly reflects, and acts in the interests of, the majority of the South African nation.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
P.O. Box 1019
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667