SABC ‘living week to week, hand to mouth’

City Press reports that the SABC is in dire straits, owing over R100 million to 64 companies.

The bulk of this is apparently owed to independent TV producers.

According to the report the new CEO Madoda Mxakwe and chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon have had a bit of a baptism of fire – the mess left by the previous board has not left them the easiest job in the world.

“We are seeing [former chief operating officer] Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s chickens come home to roost,” an insider told City Press.

Motsoeneng’s tenure saw him subject to a hostile public protector‘s report over the increases he granted himself, increases which Thuli Madonsela found to be irregular.

Not only that but actors were apparently going unpaid. This issue is a recurring one with the SABC, with reports going back to 2012.

Motsoeneng denies that this was his fault. He claims that when he was there no production houses went unpaid, at least until the court case with the DA which ended in his appointment being found irrational.

My Take

Motsoeneng hasn’t got a very good name, and thus I’m not going to focus too much on him.

What I am going to focus on is the fact that my father died a year ago. He had a TV license, which I took over. Ever since his death, my mother has repeatedly gotten phone calls from the people the SABC outsourced its debt collection to, claiming that we owe them money for my very definitely dead father’s TV license.

We have repeatedly sent the documentation to show that the TV license is now in my name, and I’m paying for it, yet we repeatedly get the same call claiming we owe this money.

Speaking to other people who have gone through similar stuff, it seems the SABC is very reluctant to recognise that dead people don’t owe it money, and also pretty callous about harassing the bereaved.

I suspect this is so that they can maintain the illusion of having more in the way of assets than they really do. If they actually recognised that half their debtors book didn’t actually exist, because of things like being dead, maybe they wouldn’t get huge loans which they can’t afford to pay because they don’t have the assets they claim to have.

And this is just me, but this indicates to me that the SABC is a mess.

It is the sort of mess that isn’t easily cleaned up. I look at Madoda Mxakwe and Yolande van Biljon and think I wouldn’t want either of their jobs.

In order to fix this the SABC has to look a lot worse before it can get better.

The muck needs to be exposed before it can be cleaned up, and you’re going to get the culprits like Motsoeneng pretending this happened under the new administration’s watch.

They’ve got a tough task ahead of them.

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