January 23, 2021

SABC could be shut down

SABC listeners and viewers are to expect static and blank screens as the broadcaster warns of an impending “Day Zero” scenario, with salaries seemingly at risk. 

(Photo, SABC head office. Supplied)

By Omphile Seetseng

Day Zero looms while the SABC waits to hear from the government about a requested 3.2 billion bailout. The broadcaster requires continued support from strategic partners, Supersport, Sentech and the City of Johannesburg. All which the broadcaster owes large sums of money.  
SABC head of finances, Yolande Van Biljon says the broadcaster needs the money to stay afloat until September.

“I think Day Zero could happen tomorrow. It depends on whether any of these big partners are unable to support us financially,” Biljon said. She adds that the SABC plans to pay salaries next month. “It is indeed crunch time, but we are doing everything we can to protect the payroll.”

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Should Day Zero occur almost half of South Africa’s population would lose access to news, entertainment, and educational content, placing the national broadcaster in contravention of its licensing conditions.

At this point in time, the SABC is still waiting to receive formal feedback on its request for a government bailout.

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