A massive increase in the number of its employees and a failure by government departments to pay the public broadcaster for their advertising are cited as factors contributing to the SABC's dire financial situation, writes Siyabonga Mkhwanazi in the Pretoria News.

This has emerged from a report by SABC board chairperson Kanyi Mkonza compiled for the National Assembly's portfolio committee on communications.

The report, which is in the possession of Independent Newspapers, deals with external and internal issues affecting the SABC's ravaged bottom line.

Unaudited results as of the end of January show the SABC is in the red to the tune of R784-million, but in the report, Mkonza insists that the organisation, which has been racked by internal strife involving the board and management, is not insolvent and could turn a profit by 2010 if a planned turnaround strategy is followed.

Notably, the report states that 563 new people were added to the SABC's payroll over the past year alone.

Mkonza says a consulting company employed by the public broadcaster pointed out this "abnormality" to management, saying there had been an increase of almost 112 percent in the SABC's headcount. But while the number of staffers soared, the amount of work to be done remained the same.

The report comes amid an appeal by the SABC to the Treasury for a cash injection to ease its crisis and assistance in rounding up defaulting government departments to pay their advertising bills.

"Television licence fees have not been increased since 1998 despite a number of requests to the government, yet the cost of licence collection increases every year," the report says.

Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.