At least 600 SABC employees could lose their jobs

The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

At least 600 SABC employees could lose their jobs after the broadcaster issued a notice of possible redundancies.

The SABC said the notice follows the launch of its new operating model — a strategic renewal initiative aimed at transforming the state-owned company into a “financially sustainable, self-sufficient and fit-for-purpose public broadcaster”.

Like many other state-owned entities, the national broadcaster has been in a financial mess for several years, often requiring government bailouts to continue operating. It is saddled with crippling debt of close to R2bn, a huge infrastructure maintenance backlog, and a huge and unsustainable wage bill. It spends more than R3bn a year on the salaries of more than 3,000 permanent employees.

In 2018, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams rode into a storm two weeks after she was appointed communications minister, clashing with the SABC board over job cuts. The planned retrenchment of 981 permanent staff and 1,200 freelancers at the time was set to take place as the SABC looked to turn around its poor financial state. She intervened, telling staffers at the broadcaster nobody would lose their jobs.

SABC management said in a statement on Thursday that it has a duty to ensure the continued viability of the company so that it may fulfil its public mandate and effectively serve the millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, information and entertainment.

“The notice of redundancy will impact approximately 600 employees and 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)”.

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