The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board will on Thursday hold a special meeting to consider a repeat proposal by the Communications Minister to halt retrenchments.
The public broadcaster is forging ahead with its ongoing retrenchment process to reduce the numeration cost to the organisation. Around 400 permanent staff are affected.
Concerns of transparency in the process have been raised, and the SABC’s senior management has been accused of imposing the process with little consultation.
As Bulelani Phillip reports the stalemate over retrenchments persists three years on, the SABC Board will look to consider whether to accept or reject the Minister’s proposal to halt retrenchments.
Concerns over Section 189 process
On Wednesday, Communications and Digital Technologies Deputy Minister, Pinky Kekana, says SABC Board and Executive members should personally pay the costs of cases they lose in courts. Kekana made the opening remarks as the SABC appeared before Parliament’s Communications Committee.
The SABC Board, Executives and the Ministry appeared before the committee. It was a heated meeting which ended on Thursday morning after midnight.
Kekana told the committee that one of the concerns of the Ministry as a shareholder is the history of SABC losing many labour cases in courts. She says it is one of the reasons that the Ministry had concerns about the Section 189 process when unions complained about lack of consultation.
“And the unfortunate situation that the SABC from time to time finds itself in is when they lose many of these cases. And I am on record chair saying from here going forward, if cases by the SABC Board of the Executive are lost, it can’t be at the expense of the entity, while we are saying the entity is bleeding.
“And I am saying one of the things we will have to do is that, if cases are lost and they appeal and lose, somebody must pay and they must pay from their pockets,” Kekana explained.
‘No no further bailout for SABC’
The SABC has not received any financial assistance from government for interrupting scheduled programmes to broadcast COVID-19 related issues during the lockdown. This was the expression of SABC Board Chairperson, Bongumusa Makhathini.
“The impact has affected the SABC during the COVID-19 lockdown. We requested assistance because we have displaced quite a number of our normal programming to make way for public announcements. We did not get the money because government, National Treasury, has made it clear that there is no further bailout for the SABC. And we have to make sure that we do everything possible as informed by our turnaround strategy to get the SABC out of the situation it’s in.”