More than 2200 SABC employees could lose their jobs to save the broadcaster R440million after a 189 retrenchment notice was issued to all employees. File Picture
CAPE TOWN  - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board will appear before parliament next week. 

According to the DA, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications has resolved as a matter of top priority, that the SABC board must appear before Parliament on Tuesday, 13 November 2018, to update the committee on the retrenchment process at the public broadcaster.

Last week, the DA called for an urgent briefing by the SABC board to provide a full update on its retrenchment process.

RETRENCHMENT NOTICE 

Last Monday, the SABC sent a notification to staff informing them of the public broadcaster's intention to proceed with Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

The process was initially halted after a joint consensus-seeking meeting on October 12, with organised labour. 

"At this meeting it was agreed that the LRA’s Section 189 notice will be put in abeyance until further details as requested by organised labour, were made available. The meeting also agreed to the appointment of a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) facilitator who will foresee the consultation process," the SABC said.

"It is envisaged that all employees and at all levels in the SABC will be affected by the restructuring.... At this stage, and should retrenchments be necessary, it is envisaged that 981 employees may possibly be retrenched as a result of the restructuring, across all the aforesaid business units and operations of the SABC. Out of the 2400 freelancers, 1200 will be affected."

The SABC said all employees, including the group services, provincial operations, commercial enterprises, media technology and infrastructure, news, radio, sport and television would be affected.

INSOLVENCY 

It was also reported last week that SABC is technically insolvent.

It is due to the massive financial issues that the SABC has no choice but to embark on the mass retrenchment of workers in order to avoid total collapse, chief executive Madoda Mxakwe said on Wednesday.

The cost-cutting measures that were already implemented saved the SABC R463 million in the past two quarters but was not enough, he added. 

Advertising accounted for 85% of the revenue.

MISHANDLING THE SITUATION

The SABC has been accused of mishandling the situation. 

The DA is of the view that the SABC has not handled the process of the possible retrenchment of up to 2 200 staff adequately. 

Phumzile Van Damme, the Shadow Minister of Communications, said in a statement that t he fact that a proper independent skill and salary audit has not been conducted does not inspire confidence.

"The DA will not allow for hardworking SABC staffers to lose their jobs without proper basis. A skills audit would reveal which skills and jobs at the SABC need to be retained and which not, and must be undertaken before retrenchments are considered, "  Van Damme added.

"Staff members and indeed the public deserves to be taken into the confidence of the SABC leadership.  It is evident that the SABC board has a lot to answer for and the DA looks forward to using the opportunity on Tuesday to hold the board accountable."

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