Debt-ridden community station Cape Town TV closes down


The station manager of debt-ridden and bankrupt community television Cape Town TV last week made an impassioned appeal to the Department of Communications (DoC) and all three tiers of government - local, provincial and national - to provide the station with urgent financial assistance and help it get back on air.

“We need a government bailout of at least R550 000 to clear all the debts owed to Sentech and we need it desperately to restart our broadcasting operations,” Karen Thorne told while attending a community media reflection conference currently taking place in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

“It costs only about R5 million a year to run CTV and we are asking the government to fund at least one-fifth of our operating costs. We are not asking for a hand-out as we believe there is so much we can give back in return, such as setting aside 5% of our airtime for government programmes,” a visibly frustrated Thorne added.

It has been almost two weeks since CTV was forced to go off air due to cash-flow problems, which include being unable to pay R65,000 monthly to Sentech for transmission costs. Thorne said that even if they had to start operating again, the station will still pay R137,000 a month to Sentech instead of the usual R65,000, as a result of being forced to sign an acknowledgement of debt after reaching a point where they could not afford to pay their distribution costs.