Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications was briefed by its content advisers on submissions made by trade unions the Media Workers’ Association of South Africa (Mwasa), Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU) and Communication Workers Union (CWU), during an engagement last month.
The committee’s content adviser, Mbombo Maleka, said: “It’s safe to say the SABC is reflecting a post-trauma scenario if you recall coming from the era of Motsoeneng, the former COO, and the previous board which really worsened the situation of a problematic organisational culture.
“There were numerous cases of intimidation, a huge problem with the State Security Agency and purging of employees if they were seen not to be agreeing with the management.
“This has created quite a tense relationship between the workers and management.
“For this matter there seems to be little unity even between the unions, sometimes even between the workers themselves. It is quite an anomaly situation [sic],” said Maleka.
Parliament’s inquiry into the SABC revealed that the broadcaster had spent millions of rand in legal fees for Motsoeneng.
He was booted from the SABC last year after an internal disciplinary hearing found him guilty of misconduct.
Motsoeneng faced charges of misconduct and breaking the rules of his employment contract after he held a marathon four-hour-long press conference on April 19 in Joburg.
During the press conference, Motsoeneng defended his 90% local music content quota, criticised Parliament’s ad-hoc committee into the SABC, and slammed interim board member Krish Naidoo.
Parliament was told that some workers at the SABC were not unionised, and some were not classified as employees.
Trade unions have raised concerns over executive vacancies that were not filled, with only one critical position of COO under Chris Maroleng.
“Mwasa was the only union to raise concerns around filling of vacancies at executive management.
“The union noted with concern that the SABC had only one substantive executive in the form of the COO, while the rest were acting over prolonged periods
“Mwasa noted it was deeply concerning that several compromised individuals remained in office,” said Maleka.
The unions also alleged the SABC did not adhere to its code of conduct and flouted labour legislation in disciplinary hearings against 138 SABC employees accused of medical aid fraud.
Parliament also heard that the broadcaster had freelancers who have been working at the SABC for more than 20 years.