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SABC To Use Spies To Stop Staff Leaks


SABC financial crisis

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has asked the State Security Agency to help it track down employees who leak information.

The SABC board resolved at a special meeting on 9 October that the services of the SSA should be called on to ‘manage leaks’.

It also wanted the spy agency to help the ailing broadcaster in exposing those responsible for leaking sensitive information to the public and media.

“The issue regarding the leaking of sensitive information to the public and the media was raised as a concern as it had negative impact on revenue and the reputation of the board,” the minutes from the meeting read.

“It was agreed that the chairperson [Bongumusa Makhathini] be mandated to approach the SSA to provide assistance in managing leaks and identify the loopholes.”

Information that was reportedly leaked includes infighting between executive members, the SABC’s strategic plan, and debt information.

Debt

In October, communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that the embattled national broadcaster will receive a multi-billion rand lifeline from the government.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said that government would immediately transfer R2.1 billion as part of a short-term turnaround plan.

She said that an additional R1.1 billion would be transferred once the national broadcaster meets a number of preconditions as set by the National Treasury.

The bailout comes after the SABC said that it was technically insolvent and is struggling to honour payments to service providers and contractual obligations.

In September SABC group chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon said that the group’s financial position has worsened and that it ended the previous financial year with a cash balance of only R72 million.

“There are instances where we are unable to honour payments and even (unable) to adhere to committed contracts, which means we often need to renegotiate because we have been unable to meet the requirements.

“Currently, the organisation is technically insolvent. We are also under tremendous strain towards being factually insolvent as a result of our liquidity issues. Cash is depleted and the trade and other payables amount to R1.8 billion as at June 2019.

“There are a number of significant suppliers that make this up, notably Sentech (R554 million), our signal distribution provider; Supersport, Samro and various other content providers (amount to R174 million). We have monthly engagements with all these parties,” she said.

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