South African state broadcaster declares self as insolvent

The future of SABC, South Africa’s state-owned broadcasting company is uncertain as its management has admitted that the company is insolvent.

In the latest statement made to the state capture commission, SABC’s CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the state broadcaster has been operating under the risk of possible systematic collapse of governance and financial processes.

He admitted that Mxakwe there had been a disregard for SABC policies and processes, adding the organisation was “technically insolvent”.

South African business news website, Fin24, quoted him saying: “We look at the short-term liabilities that exceed our current liquid assets, simply put, we cannot and we are unable as the SABC to pay our creditors. To date, we are standing at R1.8bn … we have not been able to pay SanTech, we have not been able to pay MultiChoice and some of our other creditors,”

“We run an organisation, chairperson, where every single month employees are very depressed [and] they do not know whether they will be able to get their salaries or not.

“The only thing we focus on every month is the R265m that is dedicated to paying salaries. Once we have done that, we actually have absolutely nothing left and then we have to get into engagements with some of our creditors.”

Mxakwe said when he took the job, his understanding was there was a capital re-injection that was expected. He also believed the only reason the SABC had been able to stay afloat was because of the dedication of its staff.

Zondo said it was worrying that it was not only the SABC going through difficult times.

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“We all know it is not just the SABC, there are issues with SAA, Eskom [and] Denel.

“There have been, over the years, ministers responsible for these entities and there have been boards and CEOs and CFOs. How did all of this happen when there were all these people?

“How did we get into a position where state-owned entities have got to this level? It is very worrying,” Justice Zondo said.

Mxakwe told the commission the board had “inherited a mess”, adding what gave him comfort was the fact that the organisation had ethical leadership that had a passion to serve the country.

“If we were to get that funding then we would be able to manage. But the question to ask is if we are the right people politically?”

To prevent its imminent collapse, the SABC said it would require up to ZAR3.2 billion.