SABC averts blackout, gets Sentech reprieve

The cash-strapped SABC has escaped a blackout of its television and radio services after reaching a payment agreement with signal distributor Sentech.

The public broadcaster allegedly owes Sentech R136-million.

Sentech is responsible for distributing signal from SABC TV and radio stations to consumers across the country.

If signal is cut, viewers and listeners would not be able to access SABC television and radio an.

But a new payment arrangement, reached in May, will ensure the SABC continue to enjoy using Sentech’s services despite failing to pay the monthly R62-million due to Sentech .

A highly placed source said the SABC only managed to pay R32-million in April, R18-million in May and nothing this month.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago confirmed this week that the two parastatals entered into agreement in May for Sentech to continue providing service to the SABC until the public broadcaster received its bailout from Treasury.

“We are in a process of trying to secure funds through the National Treasury.

“It is on the basis of the above that the interim boards of the SABC and Sentech met on May 15 2017 to resolve this matter,” said Kganyago

“We are not at liberty to divulge the details of the agreements that were made between the two parties thereof, except to say that we can guarantee that the SABC will continue to broadcast throughout this financial crisis,” said Kganyago.

He said he was confident that Treasury will bail the SABC out of its financial crisis as the country only has one public broadcaster.

“We have asked before and we were given [a bailout]. So there’s no way the SABC will not be given the money. [We are] finalising this thing this week. There’s false agenda that SABC is going to collapse, that’s false,” said Kganyago.

Sentech spokeswoman Milisa Kentane confirmed that the two companies have reached a payment agreement.

She, however, declined to divulge the details of the deal.

“Sentech has had engagements with the SABC and a payment agreement was established between the parties. The SABC has honoured the agreement and Sentech is satisfied with the arrangement thus far.

“As SABC is our customer, it is pertinent to note that we are obliged to honour client confidentiality,” said Kentane.

By Kgothatso Madisa and Mpho Sibanyoni

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