SABC plans to retrench 600 employees

The SABC has served its staff with a notice for possible retrenchments at the public broadcaster citing, poor advertising sales and the movement of consumers to video and other digital platforms as the cause.

In its notice, the broadcaster said the shift was “due to the organisation not having an adequate online value proposition”.  

It added: “It is also compounded by operational issues such as poor sales effectiveness, ineffective commercial product, old pricing models and inadequate technology infrastructure.” 

Turning this around was part of the broadcaster’s new target operating model, which the notice said is “a strategic renewal initiative aimed at transforming the Corporation into a financially sustainable, self-sufficient and fit-for-purpose public broadcaster”.

According to the communiqué, retrenchments are anticipated to start from September 1 and those whose services will be terminated will be offered a severance package as guided by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

In its statement the broadcaster said about 600 employees will be affected.

“These affected employees will be invited to make representations during a consultation process which will be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (“CCMA“). This is to ensure full transparency, accountability and impartiality in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (“LRA“).”

Organised labour as well as representatives of the non-unionised employees will be “consulted within a meaningful joint consensus seeking process as mandated by section 189 of the LRA,” the organisation said.

SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the broadcaster is already consulting to kickstart the process of rentrenchments. “The consultation is in motion at the moment. We are engaging with various stakeholders. We will keep on giving updates as the process unfolds.

“The process of possible job redundancies affects SABC employees at all levels in the corporation, including provinces. The corporation will also extend invitations to employees to apply for voluntary severance packages during the consultation process.”

The organisation further added that considering its poor financial situation — which may lead to its complete shutdown — it had to do the cuts.

“The need to improve our efficiency, simplify our structures, as well as align our level of staff to the new operating model is a matter of urgency if we are to begin the journey towards rediscovery and financial viability,” the notice added.

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

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