Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Community Media demands to be heard

17/07/2019

This morning during a scheduled engagement with the Community Media sector and the new Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu before his budget vote to Parliament, members of the sector handed a memorandum to the minister to highlight the current plight of community media.

The Minister felt that he was ambushed by the sector as he was under the impression that it was a simple “meet and greet”.

Below is the memorandum as it was issued.

MEMORANDUM TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY, 17 July 2019

Community radio, print and TV sectors

Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the country has made impressive gains in the promotion of media diversity through support for emerging, small commercial newspapers and community broadcasting services serving the majority of the people who were previously excluded. 

In the early 90’s media activists, many of whom are in this room today, fought for the establishment of the Media Development and Diversity Agency, tasked with the supporting community and independent media in South Africa. Since then the regulator has license over 200 community radio reaching an estimated audience of 8 million and 6 community TV stations reaching an estimated, collective audience of 14 million.

Community Newspapers by Independent publishers print in excess of 6 million copies per month with a readership that exceeds 20 million South Africans in all 11 official languages. Collectively the sector employs tens of thousands of previously disadvantaged individuals countrywide.

Unfortunately, in the last decade or so, these impressive gains have been rolled back as stations have struggled for survival in the face of weakened institutions (MDDA, GCIS and ICASA), state capture, government complacency and failed promises.

Year after year the sector attends “engagements” with the DoC, GCIS and the MDDA. Every year we regurgitate the same challenges and propose the same solutions. Every year the government and its agencies promise to address the issues and then nothing is done.

This year is different. The community media sector is on the verge of collapse with an estimated collective debt sitting at around R180 million. This is made up largely of debts to SAMRO & CARPASSO, SENTECH, SARS and rental. As we speak stations are being served eviction notices from their premises, retrenching staff and getting deeper into debt.

It makes no difference whether the MDDA and GCIS report to the DoC or to the Presidency, as long as something gets done.  The sector simply cannot be allowed to fail.

We call upon the Presidency to implement the following immediate measures:

• Provide emergency relief funding to pay off the collective debt to SARS, SENTECH, SAMRO & CARPASSO (paid to stations or directly to debtors – to avoid CSD challenges) – R150 million for radio, R15 million for TV and R15 million for print.

• Increase MDDA budget to allow for annual grant for all community broadcasters and increased support for print publishers.

• Build MDDA capacity at board and operational level to speed up grant approval and disbursement.

• Implement the Parliamentary Portfolio Directive (Nov, 2011) to spend 30 % of government adspend on community media.

Additional measures to improve the sustainability of the sector are outlined in the full memorandum

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Counting down to those Black Friday sales?

13/11/2018

It seems that everyone is counting down the days to “Black Friday” sales.

According to the Reserve Bank, consumer debt currently stands at R1.7-trillion, with a study by the World Bank revealing that about 25 million South African adults owe money.

We would like to ask our listeners to avoid getting  caught by sales gimmicks and false discounts. Remember to plan for the necessities  for  the  months  ahead  like  your  rent, bond, food and transport.

Do not get yourself into unnecessary debt.

Some advice from the National Credit Regulator:

  • If it is on sale and you buy it on credit, remember that interest and fees will push up the price. Therefore, cash is king for sale items.
  • Don’t spend what you don’t have this  means  do not  live  beyond your  means and don’t buy if you haven’t budgeted;
  • Set a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend at the beginning of your Black Friday/Christmas shopping and stick to it;
  • Don’t shop in a hurry, without a plan and place everything on your credit/ store card;
  • Plan carefully and pay particular attention to your budget, especially bearing in mind the additional expenses that come with the new year;
  • Have  a  shopping  list  to  avoid  buying  unnecessary  items if you don’t need it now, chances  are  you  may  never  need  it. So  a void  wasting  your  time  and  hard earned money
  • If  you  want  to  begin  the  New  Year  in  a financially  sound  position, be  aware  of  how you spend your money during this period and save for the New Year;
  • Do  a  budget  for  the  festive  season  which includes all  debt,  rent,  electricity,  water, insurance, transport, gifts, school uniform, stationery, entertainment etc;
  • Don’t blow your bonus on treats. Spend Wisely and rather pay off your debts;
  • Shop around for specials and compare prizes; Spend wisely tomorrow and during the festive season and enjoy a financially relaxed and  peaceful  new  year.

Remember  that  if  you  choose  to  ignore  your  budget  and break the bank on Black Friday or max out your credit cards for festive shopping you may be headed for a bleak 2019.

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