Candidates shortlisted for SABC Board positions have been blasted with their visions to turn around the public broadcaster’s finances as well as increase local content.

It is alleged that the management of the SABC did not spend the 800 million rand allocated for the purchase of local content. One would-be board member says that once appointed, he will see to it that there are consequences in similar cases.

Some of the candidates interviewed by the committee outlined their plans to address declining revenues and make the SABC self-sustaining and less dependent on aid.

The committee is racing against time to secure the appointment of new board members next month when the term of the current board expires. The term of office of the current commission expires on October 15.

The importance of local content was the topic of the second day of interviews. EFF MP Vuyani Pambo raised the issue that 800 million rand earmarked for investment in local content remains unspent.

“There are 800 million rubles allocated for content, but never used. This was mentioned in the previous report. Given a 600 million rand drop in audience, can we not call for a coup if we remove staff as an excuse for a turnaround, 621 jobs lost but no significant signs of a turnaround.”

One interviewee, Quentin Green, who has extensive broadcasting knowledge as a former head of SABC TV, says that quality local content is the only way to generate sustainable revenue.

“If you’re not getting top-rated programs, it’s not going to be profitable. Everything is simple. Advertisers are looking at where the numbers are. So the SABC will have to increase its audience and the only way is to engage South Africans with quality programming.”

While seasoned broadcaster and journalist Mpho Tshedu says the move away from spending money on local content calls for decisive action. “We need to make sure that there are consequences for people who don’t do their jobs. This is the type of board you’d want to work for unless you spend 800 million rand. How to explain this to the producers who are working, who are suffering? It is a failure to rule, the people must fall on their own swords.’

According to another nominee, Celisa Tipanyane, it is very important to have good leadership in the broadcaster…

“It starts and ends with leadership and corporate governance. Therefore, to a large extent, 90% can be blamed on the leadership and management of the institution.”

VIDEO | The SABC board interview continues, part 2:

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