Premature to retrench SABC staff - MPs

The SABC's Radio Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ African News Agency (ANA)

The SABC's Radio Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 23, 2020


Cape Town - Parliament's communications portfolio committee has reaffirmed its position that the planned retrenchments at the public broadcaster, the SABC, were at this stage premature.

This after it was briefed on Wednesday by the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu), and the Editorial Forum of the SABC on the SABC’s intention to implement retrenchments in terms of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Committee Chairperson Boyce Maneli said on Thursday that it became clear to the committee during the presentations that the SABC management issued notices of retrenchment before conducting an open and transparent skills audit or consulting with relevant stakeholders.

"The committee then reiterated that the SABC should start the process again from the beginning," Maneli said.

The stance taken by the committee followed a meeting where it was briefed on the SABC’s turnaround strategy by Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana as well as the SABC Board and management on May 25.

The committee had at that meeting wanted more time to engage with the department and the SABC.

It had also invited both parties to a meeting to receive further briefings on the retrenchments earlier this week.

But, the committee discovered that the SABC did not consult with stakeholders and there were unanswered questions despite a presentation by Kekana.

This prompted the committee to instruct the SABC management to hold proper consultations before making another presentation on the planned retrenchments.

"After listening to the labour unions yesterday, the committee became more resolute than ever that retrenchments should be put on hold to allow engagements with all stakeholders in a transparent manner," Maneli said.

He also said the committee supported the government’s position that every effort should be made to save jobs in all sectors of the economy and that retrenchments should be a last resort.

He added that the committee would invite the SABC to a meeting to discuss the consultation process.

Political Bureau