SABC hits back at Magashule over comments about retrenchments

The public broadcaster says the decision to retrench forms part of the cost cutting.

The public broadcaster says the decision to retrench forms part of the cost cutting.

The SABC has hit out at Ace Magashule after the ANC general secretary said they would not allow retrenchments at the parastatal, reminding him that the public broadcaster controls its own affairs.

In a statement, the SABC noted with concern the comments that Magashule made while delivering the Winnie Mandela memorial lecture in Polokwane on Friday

“We must support the workers of the SABC. The ANC, we committed ourselves publicly ... that we must not allow any retrenchments, even in our SOEs (state-owned enterprises),” said Magashule.

In a statement, the SABC said it believes it is necessary to confirm that the [SABC] Board has the exclusive power in terms of section 13(11) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999 to “control the affairs of the Corporation”.

“This includes how the SABC operates the business of the public broadcaster and conducts labour relations with its employees,” said SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu.

“No person, organisation or entity is permitted to interfere with how the SABC Board exercises its power in terms of section 13(11) of the Broadcasting Act. Any interference would be in contravention of the law and a recent court judgement to this effect.”

Momodu further noted that the SABC Board inherited an organisation in a financial crisis as a result of many years of failures in governance, maladministration and poor decision-making.

“The SABC currently has a R1.3-billion debt and an annual salary bill of R3.1-billion.  This is clearly not sustainable for an organisation that generates R7.2-billion in revenue and had financial losses of over R622-million in [the] past financial year.”

“Being a responsible Board, we cannot sit by and not act. This would be irresponsible and reckless on our part.”

Momodu said the word “retrenchment” was not even in the corporation’s vocabulary.

“We have communicated to our staff of intentions to start engagements with unions in relation to the cost-cutting measures that we have been going through as the corporation,” Momodu said.

According to the statement, which was issued by Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe, the public broadcaster said the decision to retrench formed part of cost cutting.

“The next step is for the SABC to engage in joint consensus seeking consultations with organised labour. We will keep all employees informed of developments relating to this process,” the statement read.

But Momodu said: “We are not saying we [are] there yet. We are contemplating it.”

“We have communicated to our staff of intentions to start engagements with unions in relation to the cost-cutting measures that we have been going through as the corporation.” — News 24

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