The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

THE SABC expects its losses to balloon over the next two years as revenues at the state broadcaster continue to plummet amid rising costs.

The SABC’s budget review up to the end of November 2016 shows that the broadcaster is planning for a loss of R1.1bn in 2018, dramatically up from R411m in 2016.

The review contains the broadcaster’s actual revenue, expenditure and losses up to the end of November, as well as projections for 2017. It also includes a section on planned revenue, expenditure and losses for the 2018 financial year.

The budget review shows that revenue is expected to decline from R8bn in 2016 to R7.3bn in 2018, as the SABC’s audience share shrinks.

At the same time, employee costs rose from R2.9bn in 2015 to R3.3bn in 2016. These are expected to drop slightly in 2018 to R3.2bn.

Signal distribution costs increased from R588m in 2015 to R632m in 2016 and are expected to rise to R743m in 2018.

Marketing costs went up from R166m in 2015 to R188m the following year, rising to a projected R195m in 2018. Consulting fees go up from R70m in 2015 to R102m in 2016 and a planned R127m in 2018.

The review shows a steady decline in profitability at the SABC.

The broadcaster has gone from making a R358m profit in 2014 to a restated loss for 2015 of R131m, increasing to R411 million in 2016.

By the end of November 2016 the SABC posted a loss of R616.6m for eight months, the review shows.

If losses continue at the same rate, they will reach more than R900m by the end of the current financial year at the end of March 2017. In 2018 the planned for loss is R1.1bn.

Earlier in December, the SABC’s former head of risk Itani Tseisi told a parliamentary hearing that the corporation’s going concern status was at risk, warning that the broadcaster was unlikely to turn a profit in the foreseeable future.

The figures for 2017 will only be disclosed publicly when the SABC tables its annual report next September. The SABC, through spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, has declined to comment on questions on financial viability until then.

However, the issue is likely to come under scrutiny again from Parliament’s ad hoc committee in early 2017, when it probes financial management at the broadcaster.

The committee is due to resume its enquiry on January 10.

The broadcaster’s sole remaining nonexecutive board member Mbulaheni Maguvhe quit this week, leaving it rudderless.

The ad hoc committee is due to submit its report to the National Assembly on February 28.

The presidency announced on Wednesday that it would await the outcome of the enquiry before appointing an interim board recommended by the National Assembly.

"Any further decision regarding the SABC board will be guided by the recommendations of the National Assembly," Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said in a statement.

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