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PARLIAMENT - Executives and board members of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday told MPs they're still engaging employees on possible retrenchments at the cash-strapped broadcaster.

SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini and his team were briefing Parliament about their turnaround plan, which would include a restructuring which is likely to lead to retrenchments.

"We have consulted with the shareholder representative (government), we have also engaged with unions and employees...," Makathini told MPs.

Makhathini said the compensation of employees was one of the biggest cost drivers at the SABC, totalling 43 percent of operating spend with the total wage bill sitting at R2.6 billion for around 3,400 employees during 2017/18.

SABC board member Jack Phalane told MPs the focus now is on consulting unions and workers to find a solution "to avoid dismissals and retrenchments".

"It is only after that process we will be able to say, based on the consultation with employees, this is the best way to avoid any retrenchments of any workers...," said Phalane.

"Currently, we have all seen the wage bill and something needs to be done there. You need the employees to assist in assisting the SABC to get out of the situation it is in." 

The 2017/18 financial year saw the SABC collect revenue of R6.6 billion against R7.2 billion expenditure, with a shortfall of R635 million.

The SABC is projecting that shortfall will reduce to R283 million, with a profit of R159 million projected for 2019/20.

The turnaround plan promises to cut waste, to optimise operating spend and to enhance revenue, including through new ways to collect TV licence fees.

African News Agency (ANA)