Playing it safe: Ongoing political pressure and leadership crises at the SABC prevent staff from finding the confidence to take risks and innovate. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy
SABC employees have downed tools and taken to the streets after wage negotiations fell through between management and unions earlier this week.
The national strike has the potential to seriously affect the coverage of the ANC elective conference set to kick off in two days.
Both the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced that they would go on strike after the SABC offered an initial 0% salary increase for the current financial year ending March 2018.
Although the SABC later increased its offer to 4.5%, Bemawu and the CWU have stated that they will not settle for less than inflation.
Early this morning, about 150 employees had turned up to strike outside the SABC buildings in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, with more expected to arrive later in the day.
Sources within the SABC say that the newsrooms are short-staffed and that the non-striking workers are struggling to keep programmes on air.
One radio station that has been affected is Ikwekwezi. It failed to produce a current affairs programme and has not aired news bulletins.
In a statement released by the SABC on Tuesday, the broadcaster says it regrets the planned strike action and that all necessary measures will be taken to ensure that the ANC conference is broadcast as planned.