File picture: ANA/Karen Sandison
File picture: ANA/Karen Sandison

SABC staff appeal for SA support as retrenchments loom

By African News Agency Time of article published Nov 15, 2020

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By Jonisayi Maromo

Pretoria - Disgruntled employees of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have planned a “silent protest” which has been dubbed “Black Monday” as the state broadcaster announced it will be retrenching 400 employees.

“We declare Monday, 16th November 2020 to be ‘Black Monday’ and a day of action against the new structure. We ask all South Africans to pray for us and to hold us in their thoughts and meditations,” the movement said in a media statement.

“We invite you to participate in our silent protest in any way possible via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or join us outside the SABC at 1pm or at any of the SABC offices around the country on Monday.”

Despite heightening criticism, the state broadcaster last week announced that Section 198 notices have been issued to workers.

It also said, earlier this month, that the employees that will be retrenched will be offered a severance package of one week for each completed year of service.

“It became clear that, sadly, our organisation requires a difficult but necessary process that will result in the reduction of staff,” the SABC said at the time.

“The SABC is cognisant of the fact that this process will affect people’s livelihoods. However, having exhausted all other options, we are now faced with the difficult of having to restructure the organisation to ensure its sustainability.”

The retrenchment of around 400 employees comes after the SABC initially announced the possibility of 600 employees facing retrenchment in June.

At the time, the Economic Freedom Fighters said an institution could not expect to build self-sufficiency and final prosperity through decreasing its workforce.

“It is not a sustainable solution and will lead to the collapse of the SABC,” the party said at the time.

On Sunday, the SABC Section 192 Movement said the new structure on the table was “imposed by management”.

“We are public service broadcasters, who believe that section 192 of the South African constitution obliges us to provide universal access to the airwaves, to all South Africans - rich or poor. We believe that the new structure imposed by management through a procedurally unfair and unjust process, inherently is inappropriate for public broadcasting not to mention that it is unconstitutional,” the movement said.

“We are encouraged and heartened by the support for our cause offered by the main trade federation unions of our country, civil society, religious organizations, parliamentarians and all democracy loving South Africans.”

Last week at the Auckland Park head offices, some SABC staffers, wearing black, denounced the imminent retrenchments.

African News Agency (ANA)

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