Deputy Communications Minister Pinkie Kekana has called on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) Board to suspend its Section 189 notice. She called for consultations with all stakeholders to be concluded.
The SABC Board appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, over whether management has exhausted all options to avoid retrenchments, including completing a skills audit.
Another meeting between the public broadcaster and Members of Parliament (MPs) has been scheduled for a later date, after the SABC Board failed to make an adequate presentation.
Kekana says the SABC must go back to the drawing board.
“As the shareholder, we feel that let us suspend Section 189 and start the process of engagement so that we are on the same sitting. That is the engagement that I had with the board, which the board also said was their resolution, and if the shareholder guides on suspending Section 189 then they have to go back and re-consult.”
The African National Congress (ANC) MP, Lesiba Molala, has called on the SABC Board to be better prepared for their next virtual meeting.
“I think they must go back home and answer all the questions that parliament has requested them to answer so that when they come back they would have done all the consultations. When we ask the SABC to give us the information they are not giving us and are evading answers. I think the SABC is gradually breaking our relationship with them.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Phumzile van Damme, has called on Parliament’s communications committee to give the SABC Board a chance to make its presentation – rather than accusing the board of avoiding to give answers.
Van Damme says MPs would still like to engage with the SABC board.
“The SABC hasn’t been given the opportunity to present, to say here are the questions that you have. We set out two days for this specific reason. We wanted to engage in detail. So I would like to be presented with information from the SABC, to engage with that information, ask questions, I would like for them to answer those questions.”
Next will be union representatives, the editorial forum, non-unionised workers, and other stakeholders. The main bone of contention is the retrenchment of 600 permanent workers and 1 200 freelancers.
The broadcaster says it is unable to sustain the R700 million a month salary bill.
SABC Board and Management appear before Parliament on Tuesday: