'If we can bail out SAA, we must bail out the SABC': Mmusi Maimane reacts to broadcaster's money troubles

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane says the SABC has the potential to produce great content and generate revenue if managed properly.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane says the SABC has the potential to produce great content and generate revenue if managed properly.
Image: Alon Skuy

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has weighed in on reports about the SABC's financial troubles which saw the public broadcaster issue 400 retrenchment letters, saying if the government can bail out the embattled state airline SAA, the same should be done for the SABC.

“If we can bail out SAA we can and, in fact, we should, bail out the SABC. We need more attention and resources channelled to content creation once again at the SABC. The broadcasting giant of Africa must be rejuvenated. There must be zero retrenchments,” Maimane tweeted on Tuesday.

SABC employees have reportedly been participating in lunchtime pickets from Monday to oppose the looming retrenchments. On Tuesday, there was a heated meeting between management and staff where journalists raised concerns about shrinking newsrooms and retrenchments. 

The SABC revealed it had recorded a net loss of R511m for the year ending March 31 2020 and a decline in revenue from R6.4bn the previous year to R5.7bn.

Group executive for news Phatiswa Magobeni told staff during Tuesday's meeting that she would retract retrenchment letters issued to staff.

Maimane reflected on the role of the SABC, saying the broadcaster has the potential to produce great content and generate revenue if managed properly. Drawing a comparison between SAA and the SABC, Maimane said the public broadcaster is more accessible to the masses than the state-owned airline.

“If we sell off SAA, if we privatise it, the middle-class and the elite will still be able to fly to their destinations. If we start losing talent at the SABC, reducing its support, the people who rely on the SABC for news and entertainment will have no substitute.”

Maimane called for funding of young content creators who will reclaim and protect the SABC's legacy of being the “engine of content creation in Africa”.

TimesLIVE


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