The SABC asked financial help from the government

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is still in a turmoil after the layoff of Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The public broadcaster has recorded loss of US$ 85 million (R1.1 billion) and is seeking financial help from the government.

The cause of this financial problem has been imputed to two key characters: the acting chief executive James Aguma and Hlaudi Motsoeneng accused of grave judgmental and managerial errors. The first one has been suspended in May 2017 while the second has been fired as previously stated.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo declared that she took issue of the payment of bonuses at the SABC in general given the “dismal” performance of the broadcaster, but more specifically because there was no performance scale in place against which the work of an employee could be measured.

Dlodlo deferred a question as to how big a lifeline the SABC would need from National Treasury, saying she would submit an application from the board to National Treasury and respond next week.

The minister and chairwoman confirmed that suspended group CEO James Aguma had misled the government when he claimed that the SABC bore no costs for broadcasting the Business Breakfast show of the Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age. It costed the company US 1.5 million (R20-million) and the contract to air the show had been cancelled with immediate effect though it had almost a year to run.

Two big policies conducted by Motsoeneng are said to being at the origin of this ruin, the 90% local content where the absence of nuance and better judgement lead to an impossible financial situation where the SABC could not carry the weight of promoting local content alone. The new quota is now 60 percent local and 40 percent foreign. The second policy was the ban of violent footage and protest.