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

The SABC has been fined R32m by the Competition Tribunal as it joins the list of media groups found to have colluded on advertising rates.

The fine adds further financial distress to the public broadcaster, which asked the government for a R3bn bailout in November, saying it would be unable to meet February’s payroll without assistance.

The SABC is among several players in the industry found to have colluded via an organisation called Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC).

Echoing past settlements, the SABC, in addition to paying a fine, has agreed to offer 25% bonus advertising to small, black-owned advertising agencies and to contribute R18m to an economic development fund over three years.

Part of the latest round of fines given to media groups included Primedia paying a R9.6m fine and contributing R3.5m to the fund, in addition to the 25% bonus to emerging black-owned advertising agencies. 

Ster-Kinekor was fined R437,000 and ordered to contribute R157,320 to the fund, as well as giving a 25% bonus to qualifying advertising agencies.

In June 2018, Naspers subsidiaries DStv and Media24 received fines of R22m and R14m, respectively, as well as having to contribute to the empowerment fund and offer 25% bonuses. 

Other media groups fined by the tribunal so far include Caxton, which had to pay R5.8m, and Independent Media, which had to pay R2.2m.

laingr@businesslive.co.za