THE auditor-general’s office has red-flagged the SABC with a disclaimer of opinion having found that the public broadcaster recorded expenditure of R1.58bn without supporting documentation during the 2012-13 financial year.
The auditor-general also said the SABC had recorded R106.3m worth of irregular expenditure‚ and there was no evidence of the collection of TV licence fees worth R913.8m.
The auditor-general also found that the financial statements submitted did not adhere to reporting standards‚ the Public Finance Management Act or the Companies Act.
The SABC also did not effectively review its internal audit function and experienced leadership instability while the broadcaster’s accounting authority did not effectively exercise its oversight responsibility.
This is contained in the SABC’s 2012-13 annual report for the year ended March that was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
The SABC’s results have set off alarm bells for Communications Minister Yunus Carrim who has formed a joint task team consisting of the National Treasury‚ auditor-general and Department of Communications to consider the long-term financial viability of the SABC. This team will also consider where the newly launched 24-hour TV news service will fit into the overall SABC strategy.
The corporation had been slowly digging itself out of a financial hole that occurred five years ago‚ culminating in government providing a guaranteed loan facility of R1.47bn in 2009.
The broadcaster has also experienced several governance crises‚ with the latest being the firing of the board earlier this year. An interim board was appointed.
Hearings by Parliament’s communications committee for new board members were on Tuesday postponed to next week.
The SABC has used only R1bn of the government guaranteed loan and has reported that it has since managed to pay back Nedbank R833m of the capital portion and interest of R216m.
The debt now stands at R167m and R3m of interest charges.
However‚ the corporation’s revenue targets for the past year have largely not been met.
While revenue did increase for the 2012-13 year to R6.665bn it was not sufficient to meet the target of a government guarantee. The guarantee was based on a set of performance targets set by National Treasury and endorsed by Parliament.
After having beaten the performance targets for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years‚ the SABC failed to reach the target of generating a surplus of R536m coming in at R188.3m lower at R347.7m.
In the 2011-12 year the SABC exceeded its TV advertising revenue budget by R235m at R3.511bn.
TV advertising revenue for the 2012-13 year was R3.382bn‚ which was R406m short of the budgeted R3.788bn. In the 2011-12 year the SABC managed to exceed its TV advertising revenue budget by R235m at R3.511bn.
The corporation has admitted that it has lost a significant TV audience‚ a development that forced it to adjust its advertising pricing as clients had questioned the value they were receiving.
The broadcaster’s radio advertising revenue exceeded budget by R75m at R1.473bn‚ maintaining the trend of the previous year when it exceeded its budget by R32.9m at R1.297bn.
Digital media platforms failed to achieve their full revenue potential as there was insufficient tangible audience attraction by the SABC’s digital media platforms.
Other revenue streams that fell short of target were the sponsorship revenue‚ which did not improve dramatically after the 2100 Soccer World Cup‚ TV licence and content and commercial revenue from TV programme royalties.
However‚ government grants‚ which were due to the R23m for the broadcast of the Afcon Cup‚ performed better than expected.
Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn has called on Mr Carrim to investigate the legality of the appointment by the previous board of the acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng with a view to removing him from this post.
"Under Mr Motsoeneng’s tenure the management‚ staffing‚ financial and editorial crises have escalated rather than improved‚” she said. © BDlive 2013