FINANCIAL constraints facing South Africa meant vanity projects were not appropriate at this time‚ Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said this week in a written reply to a parliamentary question.
His comment with regard to plans by the SABC once again underlined the belt-tightening approach Treasury will in all likelihood adopt in the medium-term budget policy statement which Gordhan will release next week.
He told parliament's standing committee on finance this week that government needed to start cutting back on unessential programmes.
In reply to a question by COPE MP Juli Kilian‚ Gordhan said the SABC management had to take "credible measures to stop wasteful and ill-considered projects and expenditure". He said the Treasury had declined the SABC's request in March for an amendment of the government guarantee targets because it had not adequately addressed the issues which created financial instability such as cost escalations in excess of revenue growth.
Also‚ the downward revision in the targets increased the risk to government arising from the guarantee. "The SABC needs to demonstrate progress in achieving the original targets to which it committed."
He said the SABC had submitted its business plan for a 24-hour news channel to the Treasury which was considering the financial aspects.
The SABC had only partially completed an implementation plan for a turnaround strategy. – I-Net Bridge