SABC, the embattled state-owned broadcaster, is facing a serious financial crisis. At the end of May it was forced to choose between paying salaries and paying municipal bills – and it now owes the City of Johannesburg more than R13.5-million.
According to MyBroadband, apart from its municipal bills, the SABC owes Sentech R317-million and MultiChoice division SuperSport R208-million.
The SABC is now looking for a R3.2-billion government guarantee to help it to raise money from lenders to stay afloat.
During an interview on SABC, the company’s chief financial officer, Yolandi van Biljon, warned that Day Zero (leading to total blackout) could happen “tomorrow”.
The SOE has debt of approximately R1.8-billion. If debtors stop supporting them, the broadcaster could go under.
The ten institutions owed money by the SABC could call in their payments at any time.
“I think Day Zero can happen tomorrow. It depends if one of these big partners are unable to support us financially,” says Van Biljon.
She warned that the SABC can also be forced to switch off its signal and distribution network or its critical infrastructure can fail, which would lead to a total blackout.
Day Zero for Cape Town has been pushed back by four days to April 16, 2018, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced in a statement on Tuesday.
“This is crucial progress, and I offer my thanks and congratulations to all residents who have joined in this campaign to Defeat Day Zero with such commitment. Their efforts have shown fruit. We have started to push back Day Zero, and we can defeat it altogether if we keep going.”
According to the latest data, dam levels for Cape Town are 26.3% as at January 29, 2018, from 26.6% at January 26, 2018.
The average daily water production of all water sources is at 580 ml/d compared to the target of 450ml/d.
Check out News24’s special report on the water crisis
“This is great progress, but to truly Defeat Day Zero, we need to aim to cut consumption to 450 million litres a day,” said Maimane.
If Day Zero does arrives taps will be cut off, except in the CBD and commercial and industrial zones.
“Pushing back Day Zero by 4 days may not seem like a lot. But actually it is a significant victory. It shows that residents are coming together and cutting water consumption,” said Maimane.
The DA leader also announced that the City secured an additional 67 million litres a day for a period of approximately 60 days, commencing in early February.
This is part of the 120 million litre augmentation which we announced last week.
“Last week we expected this additional capacity to only come online by May, but now more than half will be available from early February. This speeding-up of water augmentation will help us greatly to Defeat Day Zero.”
Meanwhile, retailers are cashing in as panic-stricken Capetonians are buying bottled water in bulk.
Have a look at this infographic prepared by Digest to help people decide what they need potable water for and to manage it within their budget.
Purchasing water at R23 (currently the higher end of what Capetonians are forking out in the city) could see residents up spending about R20 000 on water for the next three months, according to Digest estimates.
What will happen when Day Zero arrives?
- One week before the six dams providing water to the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS) are collectively expected to drop to 13.5%, the City will announce the date on which almost all the taps in Cape Town’s residential suburbs will be cut off.
- Surrounding towns which are heavily reliant on these dams (such as Drakenstein, parts of Stellenbosch and towns on the West Coast) will likely also be turned off.
- Municipal water may only be available at 200 Points of Distribution (PoDs) across the City.
- The maximum allocation will be 25 litres per person per day, distributed on the assumption that an average family comprises four persons.
- If every family sends one person to fetch their water allocation, about 5,000 people will congregate at each PoD every day.
- Discussions are underway with SAB and the South African Bureau of Standards to sell water for R1 a quart (similar to a 750ml beer bottle)
- The City’s Water and Sanitation Department will try to limi the impact on sanitation services to limit the risk of disease.
- SAPS and the National Defence Force are being consulted to help maintain law and order with Law Enforcement at collection point.
Source: Cape Argus, CBN and News24