SOS and MMA: Submissions on the intention to determine the date for final switch-off of the Analogue Terrestrial Television signal and the end of the Dual Illumination Period as 31 March 2023November 8, 2023
SOS, MMA, and SANEF submission on the SABC BillJanuary 19, 2024
The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition is deeply concerned that the Treasury has rejected a R1.5 billion cash injection request by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as revealed by Deputy Minister of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), Philly Mapulane. The Deputy Minister made this revelation when the SABC presented its Corporate Plan to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication (PPCC) this past week.
The cash injection rejection was particularly concerning given the consistent bailouts of other State-Owned Enterprises such as Eskom and Denel and ahead of crucial media coverage in the run up, during and after the all-important 2024 provincial and national elections. Millions of South Africans primarily rely on the SABC for its news, information, and entertainment.
Government needs to take accountability for the role it played in the deteriorating state of the SABC. It has consistently failed to strengthen the public broadcaster so that it can effectively bolster our democracy. The
- failure to adequately fund the public mandate which costs the SABC about R2 Billion annually,
- premature analogue switch-off (ASO) in 5 provinces which cost the SABC 40% of its audience,
- 6-month delay in SABC Board appointments and the lack of an efficient viable funding model,
are some of the ways in which government has contributed to the public broadcaster’s financial woes.
SOS urges government to fund the SABC as a matter of urgency to ensure that it is enabled it to continue playing its critical role in access to information for many South Africans. Without adequate funding the public broadcaster will not be fit for purpose for its role in building and consolidating democracy. Not only would this undermine the right to access to information, but it would also be a threat to our constitutional democracy. Given its essential role, it is vital that the SABC’s financial stability is safeguarded.
Adequate funding would also demonstrate that government recognises the importance of access to quality and credible news and information; and the fundamental role that the public broadcaster plays in promoting a democratic discourse. Government needs to be cognisant of the magnitude of a disservice it would be to have a destabilised public broadcaster during an election period.
SOS also calls on the SABC Board, Treasury, and the DCDT to be transparent regarding the details of this funding request. The public must be provided with information about the nature of the funding requested (i.e bailout, loan guarantee, etc), the details of the request and the reasons behind the decision to reject it. Transparency and accountability are key where public funds and our public broadcaster are concerned.
For more information contact
SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org
060 691 2462