The DA will push for the amount of the bailout the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has applied for to be revealed publicly when the public broadcaster’s interim board appears in Parliament on Tuesday, 1 August 2017.
The Communications Ministry has stated that the decision on the funding proposal submitted by the SABC will be announced after 4 August 2017, only after National Treasury has considered its proposal.
The SABC interim board first announced in May 2017 that it would be submitting a funding request to National Treasury and asked the Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, to engage with National Treasury on its behalf.
It cannot be that a bailout, likely in the billions, may be awarded to the SABC without prior consultation with Parliament, and indeed the public.
We strongly caution Minister Dlodlo against sullying what has been great performance thus far by attempting to sneak past Parliament and the public a multi-billion rand bailout. This matter cannot be decided in secret.
The Minister must take Parliament and the public into confidence.
It is not the first time the SABC has applied for a bailout. In 2009 it applied for a government guarantee of over R1 billion. That amount was made public and not announced to the public once a fait accompli.
The DA looks forward to engaging not only Minister Dlodlo but the SABC interim board when it appears before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesdayon this matter. We trust that the Minister will choose openness over secrecy.
We need to know how much of our money will be given to the SABC, and we need to know it now.