The head honchos at the SABC are putting on a brave face. Though they acknowledge the depth of the crisis at the public broadcaster, they also say it is making progress in turning itself around. Addressing an SA National Editors Forum meeting this week, CEO Madoda Mxakwe, flanked by COO Chris Maroleng and CFO Yolande van Biljon — all of whom joined the broadcaster this year — didn’t beat about the bush. "We are in a very painful but necessary transition as an organisation," said Mxakwe. The SABC is technically insolvent, is finding it difficult to pay suppliers, and, according to its latest annual report, its R7.26bn in expenses outstrip revenue by R640m. The situation is untenable. To keep its head above water, the SABC has proposed a drastic jobs cut — close to 1,000, or about a third, of its permanent staff — to reduce its wage bill by R440m a year. It’s also looking to slash the number of freelancers it uses from 2,400 to half that figure. Without a reduction in head count, over...

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