SABC stable but needs cash injection to turn it around, says Mathatha Tsedu
It is not going to be possible to transform the SABC without a cash injection from external sources, the public broadcaster’s deputy interim board chairman, Mathatha Tsedu, said on Friday.
Tsedu, who was being interviewed for a position on the permanent board, said that while the public broadcaster’s financial situation was now somewhat stable, it still urgently required a government guarantee.
"When we got to the SABC the biggest concern of the employees was whether they would get paid. We have stabilised that and it is no longer the case," Tsedu said in response to questions from MPs.
"But it is not going to be possible to transform, modernise and digitise the SABC without an injection from external funding … without it [a government guarantee] we would survive, but just survive."
Uncertainty still shrouds the R1bn government guarantee the SABC has requested from the Treasury.
Treasury said in August it was still applying its mind to the SABC’s request.
All five members of the interim board were included in the short list of candidates to be interviewed for the 12-member permanent board of the public broadcaster.
Earlier, an aspirant SABC board member, Cikizwa Dingi, raised eyebrows when she included President Jacob Zuma, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu as her referees.
She previously worked in the ANC’s communications unit under then party spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
Dingi later explained that an old CV had been submitted by the individual who nominated her, and an updated version with new referees had been furnished.
But opposition MPs grilled her on this, saying she wanted to show that she was politically connected to get a seat on the board.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications hoped to conclude interviews on Friday, and deliberate on the candidates next week.
A permanent board has to be in place by the end of September, when the interim board’s term ends.