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ANC communications study group concerned about the SABC's consideration of implementing section 189

13 November 2018

The ANC Study Group on Communications notes with concern the report tabled by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on the possible implementation of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. The SABC Board appeared before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications today, to brief the Committee on the dire financial situation at the SABC, which has become the main driver in the consideration of invoking Section 189, i.e. employee retrenchments.

As presented previously, the Board had come up with a turn-around strategy to tackle financial and organizational challenges at the public broadcaster. The Board reported that despite having implemented a number of cost saving measures, the corporation continues to find itself having to reduce staff members.

According to the report, the SABC has implemented alternative cost cutting measures before proposing retrenchments, which include, but are not limited to; no catering for meeting, no hiring of venues, containment of consulting fees and limiting printing of documents. The Board also highlighted the need of a R3 billion injection to make the public broadcaster financially viable, stating that without such injection, the corporation will collapse by February/March 2019.

"Notwithstanding the very real challenges presented to the committee today, we reaffirm our position that retrenchments must be the very last option. The SABC should exhaust all other options at their disposal before resorting to retrenchments as this will have a negative impact on the poor and will increase unemployment," said comrade Mziwamadoda Kalako, Whip of the Communications Study Group.

"It is also very concerning that employees at lower levels will lose their jobs, an assessment from executives' salaries, to management and all other levels must be done before deciding on invoking Section 189," he added.

The ANC calls on the SABC to reconsider other alternatives to cut costs and come back with an alternative programme of stabilizing the public broadcaster. We also look forward to the outcomes of the meeting requested by the Board with the President, the Minister of Finance and National Treasury, to find ways of salvaging the dire situation at the SABC. We further call on government to give the SABC a guarantee so that the public broadcaster can be able to raise funding. We again reiterate, retrenchments must be a last resort.

Issued by the Whip of the Study Group on Communications, comrade Mziwamadoda Kalako.

Nonceba Mhlauli

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