JOHANNESBURG – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) today announced it posted a R411 million net loss for the 2015/16 financial year ending on March 31.

By the end of March, the SABC had made R7.9 billion in revenue, up from R4.5 billion for the comparative period last year with R2.7 billion in net assets.

The public broadcaster pointed to “expenditure incurred on unforeseen events of national interest” and “less than three percent funding from government” among some of the reasons for the multi-million rand loss.

The last time the SABC posted a profit was in the 2013/14 financial year where it recorded R358 million net profit.

In the 2014/15 financial year, the SABC suffered a loss of about R400 million.

Acting chief executive, James Aguma, said events like the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, which was out of the reporting financial year in December 2013, had increased the broadcaster’s expenditure.

“Investment in mandated sports and other events also yielded negative returns. We also had an impact of tax adjustments arising from correction of prior years’ financials,” Aguma said.

The SABC’s current liabilities stood at R1.7 billion by the end of March, up from R1.4 billion the previous year.

Aguma said operating costs had increased, outweighing revenue and becoming prohibitive as the SABC is a “price taker”.

The cost of news went up to R876 million, production costs to R187 million and buying of sports rights to R573 million due to fluctuations in the rand/dollar exchange rate.

Despite this, Aguma admitted that the broadcaster had paid bonuses and commissions to the commercial enterprise executives and staff, because “they are our rainmakers”.

Aguma also addressed the audit status of the broadcaster, showing that the SABC had had qualified audit opinions for the past three consecutive years, saying this was showing progress.

“The audit opinion for the past three years moved from a disclaimer in 2013 to a qualified audit over the past three years. The SABC made remarkable progress this year in clearing three qualification issues from the prior year,” Aguma said.

“The SABC remains committed to resolve the remaining qualification paragraph in the next financial year but building on the work performed in the 2015/16 financial year, to effectively managing its expenditure as well as improving the revenue collection model across all revenue streams.”

– African News Agency

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