A union official confirmed that the public broadcaster was struggling to fund its R1bn plus annual wage bill. Photo: File.

CAPE TOWN - SABC will be laying off hundreds of workers as the public broadcaster struggles to pay service providers.

In a meeting with unions on Thursday, SABC management announced that they were forced to retrench employees due to the organisation’s dire financial situation, high employee head count and a huge salary bill, among others.

A union official confirmed to News24 that the public broadcaster was struggling to fund its R1bn plus annual wage bill.

According to an internal memo that was sent out to workers, the broadcaster states that they would be embarking on retrenchments even though no further details were released.

According to the statement, which was issued by Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe, the public broadcaster said the decision to retrench formed part of cost-cutting.

"The next step is for the SABC to engage in joint consensus seeking consultations with organised labour. We will keep all employees informed of developments relating to this process," the statement read.

However, according to a report by News24, SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said the word "retrenchment" was not even in the corporation's vocabulary.

"We have communicated to our staff of intentions to start engagements with unions in relation to the cost-cutting measures that we have been going through as the corporation," Momodu told News24.

On Tuesday the 4th of September, public broadcaster reported a net loss of R622 million for the 2017/18 financial year, compared with R977m in the previous financial year.

"The turnaround strategy that was developed subsequent to the financial year end is designed to ultimately return the corporation to its financial stability," it said in a statement.

"We have developed a robust turnaround strategy which focuses on financial sustainability, restoring the integrity, credibility and culture of excellence in the public broadcaster. We continue on a drive to stabilise the SABC financially, through the reduction of operating costs."

This is a developing story and more will follow.