The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) retrenchment process is likely to take longer than expected.
In June, the public broadcaster issued a Section 189 notice informing stakeholders of its plans to retrench 600 permanent staff and will not renew the contracts of 1 200 by September. But it has been met with resistance from labour unions and parliament.
The SABC is however adamant that it’s pushing ahead. Spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo says they’re following the law on the retrenchment process.
“The SABC is continuing with the Section 189 consultation process with all relevant stakeholders. The Section 189 process is premised on the Turnaround plan, which is a bailout pre-condition by the National Treasury and follows the approval of the Target Operating Model. The Corporation is, in good faith, following the prescripts of the Act.”
Political parties’ reactions
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and United Democratic Movement (UDM) have raised their voices over the possible retrenchments.
“We share the frustration and the anxiety of SABC staff members who are worried at this time that they could lose their jobs. We have asked that the SABC appear before the Parliamentary Committee of Communications as a matter of urgency so that they can brief us about their plans and we can satisfy ourselves that they have indeed considered all options and retrenchments are a very-very last resort,” says DA Member of the Parliament’s Communications and Digital Technologies Committee, Phumzile van Damme.
The UDM says companies, including the SABC, should find other alternatives to save jobs instead of retrenching staff.
“When companies incur financial losses, there should be other attempts to ensure that the institution is saved without resorting necessarily to retrenchments especially during this difficult time when many people are losing jobs and South Africa is going to be facing massive job losses around the corner,” says UDM Member of the Committee, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has condemned the decision, saying it will only lead to the demise of the public broadcaster.
Last year, the public broadcaster was granted a R3.2 billion bailout by the government.
EFF spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya says the SABC should look at other ways of revenue generation, such as selling television content to the overseas market, to become financially viable and retain jobs.