South African public broadcaster to get $211 mln government bailout

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa’s cash-strapped public broadcaster will get a 3.2 billion rand government bailout, but will need to meet preconditions including identifying assets to sell, the communications ministry said.

Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would receive 2.1 billion rand on Monday, with the balance transferred once it fully meets three outstanding conditions that were set by the National Treasury.

SABC has already fully met five preconditions, partially met two including identifying non-core assets for sale while one has not been met, the ministry said.

It is noted that the SABC turnaround requires more than the 3.2 billion rand short-term funding, Ndabeni-Abrahams said, adding the broadcaster had submitted a turnaround plan which government was currently reviewing.

SABC in January scrapped a plan, which was prompted by the government saying it would reduce financial support, to lay off nearly 1,000 staff, adding it would find other ways to save money.

South Africa’s largest labour union had threatened a nationwide strike over planned large-scale job losses in the public and private sectors.

SABC is among a clutch of heavily indebted state-owned firms that President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to wean off state funding and make more transparent and accountable.

Source: NAM News Network