SO DIRE the situation at the public broadcaster that it will be retrenching 2000 staff, has caused uneasiness from both Government and trade unions.
SABC is on a recovery drive to get back about R60m as the new management tries to turn around the ailing public broadcaster.
It indicated total revenue recorded for the 2017/2018 financial year amounted to R6.6bn, against a budgeted revenue of R7.3bn, resulting in an under-performance of R709m. Employee costs amounted to R3.1bn.
The SABC’s CEO Madoda Mxakwe explained that the public broadcaster was forced to retrench as it could not afford its R3bn-plus annual salary bill.
As a result it will be laying off 1200 freelancers and 981 permanent staff and the Broadcasting Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) are having none of it due to inflation and increasing job losses.
Hannes du Buisson says, “We are shocked by the notice that we received. That is not the kind of news that one would like to hear at all, especially not this time of the year. We thought that the SABC would reconsider rather putting people in the streets, find ways to redeploy those people at all necessary.”
Human resources group executive Jonathan Thekiso said the SABC was approaching the labour court in an effort to recovered money lost through irregular salary increases.
Other financial losses were due to unjustified promotions, irregular lump sum bonuses and unprocedural appointments, Thekiso said, citing a PA earned R400 000 after her salary was irregularly increased without justification.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) were unhappy with the stance taken by the broadcaster.
“We are shocked like everyone else. Because in the last meeting that we had was that we are going to have the CCMA’s intervention on the matter in terms of the number of people affected and departments. That has not yet happened but we find SABC finding it necessary to go public,” CWU president Aubrey Tshabalala.
Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane who indicated she was against the move by the SABC, is expected to answer various questions, including the retrenchments to Parliament next week.
She is also expected to respond on why the Parliamentary Channel on DSTV is still not aired on an SABC Channel.
In the interim, thousands of breadwinners’ future seems bleak but at the same time, one feels the frustrations and short-sightedness the SABC is going through as a result of previous regime.