File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA.

JOHANNESBURG - The DA on Tuesday called for an independent human resources audit amid reports of retrenchments at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the party's communications shadow MEC said in a statement.

This comes after the SABC sent a notification to staff on Monday informing them of its intention to proceed with Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

"The DA is in possession of a memorandum sent to SABC staff indicating that the public broadcaster is considering retrenching up to 2 200 staff effective on February 1, 2019, " Phumzile van Damme said.

The DA said Parliament, the public and SABC staff were entitled to a full explanation and called for transparency on the retrenchment process.

"Before considering retrenching staff, the SABC ought to have conducted a proper independent skills audit to asses which staff it still needs and those that are no longer needed, similar to the one conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the SABC in 2013," Van Damme said.

She said the DA had been informed that SABC management simply went from office to office asking managers if there were staff in their units that could be retrenched. 

"The DA will not allow the SABC to play Russian Roulette with the jobs of its staff," Van Damme said.

"A salary audit would have revealed where inflated salaries that need to be reduced exist, which would have resulted in savings."

Van Damme said the SABC refused to reveal how much its new top management earned, even while it planned to retrench 2 200 workers. 

The party also accused the public broadcaster of taking a haphazard approach as it had decided to end 1 200 freelance jobs. 

Its freelance employees include draw card and popular anchors such as Sakina Kamwendo, Redi Tlhabi and Robert Marawa. 

The DA said that even while the SABC had placed a moratorium on new appointments, it continued to advertise new jobs. 

Responding to questions, SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu on Tuesday said only that the public broadcaster had not received any communication from the DA requesting an independent human resources audit.

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African News Agency (ANA)