The SABC’s Group Chief Executive Officer Madoda Mxakwe outlined the 'dire financial situation' to staff on Friday as the broadcaster weighs up possible retrenchments.
This after an internal memo was distributed to employees on Thursday stating that the corporation had met with organised labour to discuss cost-cutting measures.
Mxakwe told staff that the corporation had had a demanding financial year with a total revenue of R6.6bn against a budget of R7.3bn which resulted in an under-performance of R709m.
“The SABC had a net loss of R622m for the 2017/18 financial year. One of the SABC’s biggest cost drivers is the salary bill,” Mxakwe said in a statement.
Mxakwe said the corporation generated R7.2bn in revenue with a salary bill of R3.1bn.
“The current ratio of revenue to wage bill is not sustainable given the SABC’s dismal financial situation. It is for this reason that the SABC is contemplating other cost cutting measures to further reduce costs,” he said.
SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said on Tuesday that the corporation had done all it could to cut costs and was now at a stage where it was looking at other measures.
"We have communicated to our staff our intentions to start engagements with unions in relation to the cost-cutting measures that we have been going through as the corporation," she had said.
She said the meeting with unions on Thursday was to inform them that the broadcaster had been looking at various ways of cutting costs, and was now "contemplating further cost-cutting measures, which may include Section 189".
"It's a contemplation and we told the unions that we had done all we can to cut costs in all the areas of the corporation..." she said.
A South African High Court on Monday overturned a decision by the government to grant Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity after she was accused of whipping Gabriella Engels with an electric cord.
Delivering his judgement on Monday, Judge Bashier Vally stated that the decision by the former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to grant Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity was inconsistent with the South African Constitution and should therefore be set aside.
“It is declared that the decision of the minister of August 19, 2017, in terms of the diplomatic immunities to recognise Dr Grace Mugabe immunities is inconsistent with the Constitution of South Africa. The decision is reviewed and set aside,” the judgment stated.
The former minster explained in court that Mrs Mugabe automatically qualified for immunity from prosecution by virtue of her status as the wife of a head of state.
She also argued that not awarding Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity might have serious implications for relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Engels filed a court application challenging the government’s decision last August.
Mrs Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe immediately after South Africa granted her diplomatic immunity, allowing her to evade prosecution for assault and causing a row in South Africa where the opposition Democratic Alliance also challenged the ruling.
Mrs Mugabe denied assaulting Engels with an electric cable, saying an “intoxicated and unhinged” Engels had attacked her with a knife.
South African advocacy group Afriforum, which represented Engels, dismissed the allegations as lies.
According to Engels, an irate Mrs Mugabe burst into the room where she was waiting with two friends in a Johannesburg luxury hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s sons last August, and started attacking her with an electric cable.
Photographs taken by Engels’ mother soon after the incident showed gashes to the model’s head and bruising on her thighs.
Willie Spies, a lawyer for Afriforum, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should now take action to prosecute Mrs Mugabe and seek her extradition from Zimbabwe to South Africa.
Spies said if the NPA failed to take action, Afriforum would start proceedings against Mrs Mugabe.
“The ball is in their court now,” Spies said, adding that Afriforum had argued that Grace Mugabe committed the attack on Engles while she was on a private visit to South Africa and therefore did not qualify for diplomatic immunity.
NPA spokeswoman Phindi Mjnonondwana said the case was still in the hands of the police and had not yet been sent to the NPA for action.
However, NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said South Africa and Zimbabwe had previously cooperated on extraditing suspects from one country to the other.
Following the judgement, International Relations and Cooperation Department under Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said they were still studying the judgment.
The news from the South African court came as former president Mugabe (94), accompanied by his wife and daughter Mrs Bona Chikore, cast his vote at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield township, the first election that does not include his name on the ballot paper since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.