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Concerns regarding SABC restructuring strategy, mass retrenchments

NEWSWATCH: In an effort to turn the business around, the SABC announced on Monday, 29 October that it will be going ahead with Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.
Image credit: Waldo Swiegers | Sunday Times

This is expected to result in about R400m savings per annum, however, the restructuring may see up to 1,000 staff members retrenched and a halving of its freelance database from 2,400 to 1,200, to reduce its annual salary bill of over R3bn.

The public broadcaster issued a notice yesterday, informing unions and staff of its decision.

Concerns are as follows:
  • Business Day reports that communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane and various MPs are strongly opposed to the job cuts. "In a scathing statement in September the minister criticised the board for 'ignoring the advice and support of the shareholder in this necessary and critical process of turning the SABC around... This is inconsistent with the principles of good corporate governance, mutual interest and public good'.’’

  • Fin24.com says Labour has expressed shock, questioning whether the broadcaster will be in a state to cover the elections in 2019 and concerned that it might be facing a "repetition of the McKinsey process in 1997".

  • While spokesperson for Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu), Hannes du Buisson, told the Mail & Guardian that no efforts to increase revenue before resolving to embark on the mass retrenchments had been made, and that the union is “gravely concerned” that the broadcaster has not stopped recruiting new workers in recent months.
For more, watch this interview with Bongumusa Makhathini, chairperson of the SABC board:

Dimakatso Thugwana from the eNCA has more:

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