ANC want to increase SABC funding


South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) has proposed reducing the SABC’s reliance on advertising by raising the state’s contribution to the public service broadcaster’s revenue to 60% annually by 2010, according to media reports.

The state’s contribution which currently stands at 2% is proposed to be raised to a minimum of 60%, as stated in a document outlining the ANC’s media policy for the next five years adopted at the party’s 52nd conference in Polokwane last month.

The party said that the media’s reliance on advertising revenue had a negative effect on society and that the SABC played a crucial role in promoting the country’s development. According to Business Day, the funding proposal could further fuel concerns about the SABC’s independence, due to existing accusations of a pro-ANC political bias promoted by the broadcaster.

SABC Group CEO Dali Mpofu welcomed the proposed increase but warned of the importance of striking a balance between state funding, advertising and licence fees. The public broadcaster has sought an increase in government funding for some time, to curb its reliance on commercial income.

Mpofu has been quoted as saying that “just as you don’t want too much dependence on commercial (advertising) funding – as it may compromise independence – you don’t want too much reliance on government funding for the same reason’.

He also states in the report that he thinks that 60% may be a little too high, not only for independence issues but also for the social development that still needs to take place, and states the obligation of the broadcaster to raise its own funds. Mpofu said the public should also play their part in funding the SABC as only R760m (18% of revenue) was received through licences annually.

If the ANC’s proposal is approved, the SABC’s recorded revenue of R4,3bn, of which R84m was from government, would rise to approximately R2,58bn each year, according to Business Day. The SABC receives 76% of its operating income from commercial sales and advertising.


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