June 18, 2020 / 12:57 PM / 21 days ago

South Africa's public broadcaster SABC preparing to lay off 600 workers

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said on Thursday it had issued notices to its employees warning of a likely 600 lay-offs, as the indebted state firm looks to stabilise its finances.

“The notice follows the launch of the SABC’s new Target Operating Model - a strategic renewal initiative aimed at transforming the corporation into a financially sustainable, self-sufficient and fit-for-purpose public broadcaster,” it said in a statement.

SABC is among a clutch of heavily indebted state-owned firms that President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to wean off public funding and make more transparent and accountable.

It made a net loss of 482 million rand ($27.77 million) in the 2018/19 financial year, compared with a net loss of 744 million rand in 2017/18. The government gave the broadcaster 3.2 billion rand this year to pay its bills.

Its staff of 3,167 permanent employees and 1,500 independent contractors remains amongst its biggest expenditure items.

The SABC’s income has been chipped away by the growing loss of viewers and advertising revenue to private satellite TV provider Multichoice (MCGJ.J) and streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX.O)

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Alex Richardson

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