File picture: Independent Media
File picture: Independent Media

Union fury as 'cash-strapped' SABC pays CEO R877 000 bonus

By Mary Jane Mphahlele Time of article published Nov 14, 2017

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Johannesburg - The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) says the SABC is not in the financial quagmire it claims to be in and which had prevented it from meeting its contractual commitments.

This comes after it was revealed that the broadcaster’s acting group chief executive, Nomsa Philiso, received a R877 000 bonus.

Bemawu spokesperson Hannes du Buisson said the amount awarded to the broadcaster’s CEO was shocking and revealed a different state of its financials.

“We find it shocking that that kind of amount is paid out, especially at this point. It shows that the SABC is in a much better financial position than everyone has been told,” said Du Buisson.

Read: Parliament hears details of shocking cash crisis at SABC

He said the bonus made them question the SABC’s real financial status.

The broadcaster also had to scramble to explain the bonus to Parliament. DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme asked the broadcaster how it was able to afford a bonus or commission of almost R1 million while the company was making huge losses.

The SABC’s latest annual report revealed that Philiso earned a total of R3.37m in the year ended March 2016, which included bonuses and commissions.

The report also stated a net loss for the year ending March 2017, and revenue declined from R8.1 billion in 2016 to R7.6bn.

The broadcaster’s acting chief financial officer, Thabile Dlamini, told Parliament that the bonus came from an incentive scheme in the SABC’s commercial enterprises division, which incentivises staff who meet their targets.

This also comes at a time when the union is embroiled in labour negotiations for the broadcaster’s workers to receive a 10% salary increase.

Negotiations between the broadcaster and Bemawu collapsed last week when the two failed to reach an agreement on the proposed salary increase.

The union said it was appalled by the broadcaster’s ability to pay one employee a huge bonus but was reluctant to give the rest of the staff an annual salary increase.

“One would have expected them to defer those contractual bonuses until the stage where the SABC is in a better financial situation. But it has been paid, and to us it is an indication that the SABC has recovered quite substantially,” said Du Buisson.

On resuming the strike, the union said it had turned to the CCMA to help resolve the salary dispute. “We are waiting for the CCMA to set down the matter for conciliation.”

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