You are currently viewing our desktop site, do you want to download our app instead?
Moneyweb Android App Moneyweb iOS App Moneyweb Mobile Web App
Join our mailing list to receive top business news every weekday morning.

Does the SABC need 12 directors?

SABC’s irregular expenditure reaches R5.2bn.
The broadcaster continues to hobble under massive debt and losses, but a bailout is on the cards. Image: Moneyweb

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is sliding down a bottomless pit, with no end in sight.

The 2019 annual report indicates that the national broadcaster has not escaped maladministration and internal corruption, and is faced with ongoing funding challenges.

Read: SABC reportedly needs R3.2bn government backing to avoid shutdown

More government handouts

An amount of R3.2 billion, payable from the government contingency reserve, has been allocated to the SABC. It will be paid over by National Treasury in tranches. This lifesaver enabled the annual report to be published, and saved the SABC from trading as an insolvent entity.

But this won’t be enough.

Read: SABC to get first tranche of bailout 

Directors and key management

Its non-executive directors, executive directors, and senior management don’t come cheap.




Non-executive directors (11/12)

R3 871 000

R7 210 000

Executive directors (5/7)

R13 825 000

R9 900 000

Senior management (15/21)

R24 792 000

R28 397 000


R42 488 000

R45 507 000

Group executive of commercial enterprises Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi, who was suspended in April, earned a commission of R421 000 (2018: R345 000).

The SABC board comprises 12 non-executive directors and three executive directors. Many of the 12 non-executive directors sit on various boards, convocations, councils, trusts, and so on.

It may be worth this state-owned entity (SOE), that is struggling to make ends meet and runs out of cash to pay salaries to workers, to consider cutting down on the number of directors and executives it has.

Report of the Auditor-General (AG)

 The AG issued a qualified report with findings, including:

  • The group incurred a loss of R482 million for 2019 (2018: R744 million).
  • The fixed assets register is neither accurate nor complete (same finding in 2018).
  • The prescribed reporting framework was not adhered to.
  • A fair, equitable and transparent procurement process was not followed.
  • Fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the year amounted to approximately R50 million. Various programme, sport and film rights were acquired and not used. Disciplinary action has not been taken against those responsible.
  • The entity has not recognised licence fees to the amount of R2.2 billion (2018: R2.4 billion). (Can DStv not be tasked with collecting the TV licences from its subscribers?).
  • A material impairment of R96.8 million was incurred as a result of irrecoverable and long outstanding trade and other receivables; R69.2 million relates to TV licence debtors.
  • There were various internal control deficiencies.

In a nutshell, the SABC is insolvent.

A deferred tax asset of R582.8 million has not been raised as the entity is unlikely to generate any taxable income in the foreseeable future.

The liabilities exceed the assets

It is to be noted that the SABC defined benefit pension fund is included in the assets

The total liabilities exceed the total assets by R594.4 million (2018: R174.1 million), and the current liabilities exceed the current assets by R875.1 million (2018: R456 million)




Total assets

R5 292 773

R4 216 766

Less: defined benefit fund asset

-R2 049 940

-R852 872

Assets without defined benefit fund

R3 242 833

R3 363 894

Less: Total liabilities

-R3 837 205

-R3 537 977

Excess total liabilities over total assets

-R594 372

-R174 083

Current assets

R1 573 214

R1 626 578

Current liabilities

-R2 448 285

-R2 082 570

Excess current liabilities over current assets

-R875 071

-R455 992

The total cost of employment (all staff), excluding long service awards, defined benefit pension payments, leave pay and post-retirement medical benefits, comes to R2.4 billion (2018: R2.7 billion).

Can the SABC be fixed?

Treasury carried out a review in August 2019, and laid down set conditions that the SABC has to comply with in order to receive part of the R3.2 billion amount that has been allocated: “Therefore, there is a material uncertainty as to the timing and quantum of funding tranches to be received from National Treasury.”

Irregular expenditure in 2019 amounted to a whopping R5.2 billion. An amount of R5 billion was carried over from 2018. The irregular expenditure exceeds the bailout.

Contingent liabilities amount to R1.4 billion.

Various strategies have been proposed. This includes the appointment of a chief restructuring officer, which will no doubt come at a huge cost.

Strategies include:

  • Regular cash flow forecasts are matched against requirements, “depending on priorities”;
  • Consequence management; and
  • A turnaround strategy was to be completed at the end of September 2019.

Management is of the view that the SABC is a “strategic asset of the public sector/government”.

As Treasury is in control of the purse strings, the SABC should be moved from being under the control of the Department of Communications to Treasury.

Employees’ pension fund monies are safely protected by the pension funds. Be that as it may, shouldn’t Treasury consider the feasibility of moving all defined benefit pension funds under the control of the various SOEs to the GEPF?

In reviewing these financials, it is difficult not to feel tremendous sympathy for the talented, hard-working SABC employees.



Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.


Of course they need all of them – I mean the trough is huge!!!!!

But who pays to fill the trough?
Is it the taxpayer or the licence payer? I don’t know many people who pay for the SABC rubbish so it must be the taxpayer. That’s you. And me. Viva socialism!

If you pay your TV license and are a taxpayer. Then you’ve paid at least twice. As with all bailouts for SOE’s whose services you pay for by settling your account yet they receive bailouts from taxes to remain dysfunctional. Taxes that should have been used to improve the lives of the country’s citizens.
And as a result of that not happening, you can expect blame and hostility towards you, as well as punishment for this through increased taxes, inflated prices and reduced service delivery.

There seems to be no limit to the amount of corruption and incompetence the ANC will tolerate – to the point where one can only conclude that they don’t just tolerate it, they actively want it.

The so called conditions attached to the various bailouts are a joke…a smoke screen to placate the angry taxpayers who are footing the bills. In practice they are meaningless.

The ANC could stop all of this in a heartbeat by just appointing honest people to the boards of these entities.

But they don’t

And these directors are part of the 29,000 govt employees earning over R1-million in annual earnings!!

(Then one comes to realise that Govt collects MORE THAN ENOUGH funds through SARS what it really needs.)
An effective allocation of capital is what is required! The ANC need to stop handing out cash to buy votes!

Close it down. Scrap it. Netflix have replaced TV long ago.

Neflix is not South African….

These SOE’s must be fixed… This is the wealth of our nation. We need a government that will make these things work… The ANC has no capability… They must move on. We need a new fit for purpose political party in this country. Like the NP, CP, and the Progressive Party the ANC has reached its sell by date we need a new party…

Maybe the ANC thought they need that amount of directors to have enough “learning ability” as a collective.

The number is obviously far to small as the collective “learning ability” has strangely proved to be way below what would be required for success.

Just another expensive cadre deployment failure.

If you want to reduce the numbers of directors at the SABC make them personally liable for the irregular expenditure.

The SABC is one of the smaller SOE’s, therefore one of the easiest to sell off to media companies.The benefits?No more govt bailouts/funding required,all employees off their (govt’s) payroll,no more expensive admin iro apartheid-era TV licences, etc.But the govt should make a sale conditional upon retaining at least one free-to-air public channel, for sports, news and culture, and securing all SABC archives for posterity.Give retrenched staff a generous payout. Done deal.

The most frustrating part about directors is that it is astonishing how many of them are on multiple boards, never read the board packs ahead of the meetings or prepare.

Also they aren’t suited to be on a board as a result of lack of experience in the field.

My vote drop it to 5. That size committee may actually get something done

We could learn from other countries

The SABC should have one national free to air news channel plus a very few national radio channel and a dozen regional radio channels. Do we as a nation need taxpayer subsidized local content soapies? No!!!

Probably coincide with the amount of space at the trough.

Of course they need all those directors , the trough is overflowing
oink, oink – this country finish and klaar.

love it i did not even read the text until i had got rid of my bile

End of comments.



Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: