The SABC’s debt mountain is even larger than reported — the public broadcaster owes SuperSport nearly R100-million, writes Lloyd Gedye in the Mail & Guardian.

More than 1 000 members of the independent television production industry marched on the SABC last week demanding a change in leadership and for the SABC to pay up. But the Mail & Guardian has established that larger players have also been affected by the public broadcaster’s financial woes.

Industry insiders told the M&G that the R100-million owed to SuperSport relates to Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches, as well as cricket matches that the SABC sub-licenses from Multichoice’s sports arm.

The insiders said that negotiations between SuperSport and the SABC regarding the money owed are continuing and that the SABC will be able to settle the outstanding millions only once it receives the R2-billion bail-out it has requested from the government.

But that bail-out looks unlikely to materialise soon. Communications ministry spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso told the M&G this week that the treasury, the SABC and the communications department will meet to find “a solution to the financial challenges facing the public broadcaster”.

“So far there haven’t been any movements in that regard but it’s something that we are definitely attending to,” said Rikhotso.

The SABC has the rights to at least 150 PSL matches a year from SuperSport. In 2007 the PSL sold the broadcasting rights for the league’s matches to SuperSport in a deal that was reported to be worth R1.6-billion.

Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.