The crisis caused by the South African Broadcasting Corporation's
plunge into debt has been largely of its own making, its acting chief
executive, Gab Mampone, has admitted, writes Keith Ross in the Daily News.

Mampone blamed the SABC's financial problems on many factors, including over-staffing, the use of consultants and the high cost of buying overseas programme content.

He said that "two seasons ago" the SABC had a cash surplus of R1-million, but was now in debt to the tune of R781-million.

"The organisation is facing difficult times financially and strategically," he said, "but they are fixable."

'The content costs also increase quite significantly'
Mampone gave this assessment of the situation when interviewed on SAfm Radio's After Eight Debate on steps to be taken to resolve the SABC's financial crisis.

He said he planned to gather support from all concerned, and to "make sure we work as a team, with the board, with staff, with everybody" to help the SABC reach its goals.

The broadcaster's decline started two years ago, he said.

"Then we started on a path of driving certain objectives: to improve content production in South Africa, to make sure we created opportunities for various small businesses in the content industry."

Coupled with this, he said, came an increase in the number of people employed by the SABC.

In 2005 the organisation had 3 500 employees, yet within two years that number had increased to 4 100.

"That says in itself there was an uncontrolled increase in our staff complement."