Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Cosatu blasts ANC over SABC

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Jan 21, 2021

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Johannesburg - Cosatu has blasted its alliance partner the ANC accusing it of having failed SABC workers and those employed in other struggling state-owned companies.

This comes as the federation and the SACP are throwing their weight behind the strike action by SABC workers’ unions against retrenchment plans at the public broadcaster.

The SABC is planning to retrench more than 300 workers by the end of March as part of cutting costs and doing away with what the management calls redundant posts which did not fit in in the newly trimmed newsroom structure, but employees have rejected the move.

Workers were expected to embark on a go slow from today, ahead of a while a full-blown strike which would include a motorcade from the SABC’s Auckland Park studios to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where they will hand over their memorandum of demands to the Presidency.

According to the Communication Workers Union (CWU), an affiliate of Cosatu, tomorrow’s strike action would also include a temporary media blackout.

Cosatu has, however, accused the governing party of not taking the plight of the SABC employees seriously.

Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla accused the ANC government of “leading the charge when it comes to destroying jobs”.

“This government is supposed to be exemplary in protecting workers and creating new jobs. These retrenchments are not just going to destroy workers' lives and those of their families, but they are going to weaken what is a very vital institution of our democracy,” Pamla said.

Pamla said the ANC had even failed to reflect on the dire state of the SOEs like the SABC in its recent January 8 statement.

“The message failed to acknowledge that workers are losing jobs in these collapsing SOEs and the country itself is teetering on the brink because of this problem,” he said.

The SABC has indicated that the “no work, no pay” principle would apply during the strike and that it had made contingency plans to ensure that broadcasting continued.

Cosatu has indicated that it was also in support of the calls made to President Cyril Ramaphosa for the SABC board to be dissolved.

“The decision by SABC to proceed with retrenchments confirms our previous assertion that the SABC Board members are out of their depth and have overstayed their welcome,” Pamla said.

Speaking to the Independent Media, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said while the party was fully against the retrenchment plans and the move to privatise some of the functions of the SABC, it had not made a decision whether or not to back the call for the removal of the board.

“We have limited ourselves to the two main issues for now, which is the retrenchments and the attempts to privatise the SABC and we are saying we fully support the unions and the workers. We are not saying we support or don’t support the removal of the board now. We are saying that we're behind the unions on the two issues, which are the main issues,” Mashilo said.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe had not responded to questions by the time of publication.

Political Bureau

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