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SABC's money woes: 'It's bad. It's bad'

Khanyisile Kweyama says she cannot put a precise figure on the amount the board is likely to seek in terms of assistance from National Treasury.

The SABC needs at least R1 billion to stay afloat.

JOHANNESBURG – The chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) interim board has revealed that the public broadcaster is so short of funds that there were doubts about whether salaries could be paid at the end of the month.

Khanyisile Kweyama took over the reins at the SABC at the end of March.

Since then, she and her four fellow interim board members have been meeting almost daily to try and get the public broadcaster back on a sound footing.

Kweyama has two words to describe the SABC’S financial situation.

“It’s bad. It’s bad…”

The former Business Unity of South Africa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says when the interim board came in, they weren’t sure the SABC would be able to meet its march payroll, let alone April’s.

“The only light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that we were able to pay salaries and some creditors at the end of this month.”

Kweyama says she cannot put a precise figure on the amount the board is likely to seek in terms of assistance from National Treasury, but she adds: “We’re definitely looking for at least R1 billion”.

She says the interim board has already instructed that the posts of group CEO, chief operating officer and head of radio be advertised.

At the same time, the interim board wants to ensure that former Chief Operating Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng gets a fair hearing when his disciplinary proceedings get underway.

Kweyama says Motsoeneng, like any employee, must be treated fairly.

The board chair did not want to go into detail about additional charges the former COO may face after his press conference last week during which he tore into the interim board and defended his actions at the public broadcaster.

“I’m not at liberty to comment on that – we have written to Mr Motsoeneng, I think it’s in the public domain now, but we shouldn’t be the ones fuelling it. He is an employee, and any employee deserves the right to fairness in a hearing.”

The interim board is expected to finalise matters around Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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