SABC shut­down if job cuts aren’t called off, says union

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Brian Sokutu

Deafen­ing chants of amandla ngawethu (power is ours) echoed through the SA Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (SABC) head­quar­ters in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day as protesters de­manded the cor­po­ra­tion can­cel its re­trench­ment plans.

The protesters handed over a mem­o­ran­dum to the Group CEO Madoda Mx­akwe, giv­ing the broad­caster seven days to re­verse the de­ci­sion to re­trench em­ploy­ees.

Faced with bloated staff num­bers, a high wage bill and the con­se­quences of the mil­lions of rand squan­dered dur­ing Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng’s ten­ure as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, the cash-strapped SABC re­cently an­nounced plans to re­trench about 1 000 staff and 1 200 free­lancers.

The job-cut­ting would yield a cost sav­ing of about R400 mil­lion yearly, ac­cord­ing to the SABC.

To back its re­struc­tur­ing strat­egy, the SABC man­age­ment has also sup­plied shock­ing fig­ures, show­ing its to­tal rev­enue for the 2017-18 fi­nan­cial year stood at R6.6 bil­lion against a R7.3 bil­lion bud­get. This amounts to an un- der­per­for­mance of R709 mil­lion.

Mx­akwe, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Chris Maroleng and hu­man re­sources chief Jonathan Thek­iso were booed when they came to ac­cept the mem­o­ran­dum of de­mands from the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ers Union (CWU) and Broad­cast­ing, Elec­tronic, Me­dia and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Be­mawu).

“Away with nepo­tism at the SABC”, “CWU against job losses”, “Don’t re­trench work­ers, stop cor­rup­tion”, “Be­mawu is against job losses” and “SABC, please bring back Ngizwe Mchunu” were the mes­sages on some of the plac­ards car­ried by protesters.

CWU de­scribed the re­trench­ment plan as “syn­ony­mous with com­pa­nies in the pri­vate sec­tor where profit is placed ahead of the peo­ple”. It said: “We be­lieve that top of chal­lenges faced by the SABC is the ques­tion of fi­nances.

“There­fore, it is not ideal to dis­miss work­ers in the hope of gen­er­at­ing profit. This is an old method that is not sus­tain­able.”

The SABC said it’s com­mit­ted to en­gag­ing unions in a meet­ing fa­cil­i­tated by the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Arbitration, set for next Tues­day.

Pic­ture: Tracy Lee Stark

SAY­ING NO: Cosatu mem­bers yes­ter­day picket out­side the SABC against planned staff re­trench­ments.

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