S. African Parliament calls for political leadership to address crisis at public broadcaster

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-15 06:15:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAPE TOWN, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- South African parliament on Wednesday called for political leadership to address the worsening crisis at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The Ministry of Communications can and should do more to assist with the crisis at the public broadcaster, Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) said.

This came after the state-run SABC, which has failed to recover any of the money it lost due to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, announced plans to retrench 981 employees (almost half of its staff) and 1,200 permanent and freelance employees, drawing wide criticism.

On Tuesday, the SABC board appeared before Parliament to present a plan regarding the looming retrenchment of staff.

The SCOPA said it is of the view that the SABC should be creative enough to find ways of avoiding "day zero" when it comes to retrenchments.

As a public broadcaster, the SABC can save all jobs and find solutions to the retrenchments so that the anxiety that everyone is feeling can pass, the SCOPA said.

Suspected corruption and poor management at the SABC has led to irregular expenditure of 4.9 billion rand (about 343 million U.S. dollars) and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of 54 million rand (about 3.8 million dollars), according to the SCOPA.

The SCOPA requested the SABC to furnish it with all the names of those that signed off on the contracts that led to the irregular expenditure and provide monthly reports on irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

As the country's biggest public broadcaster, the SABC provides news services to 19 radio stations and five television broadcasts. SABC television has also been widely available in neighboring Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.