SABC Not Doing Enough To Avert Job Losses: Communication Union

SABC buildings

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board of not doing enough to avert retrenchments as the financial crisis deepened at the cash-strapped public broadcaster.

The public broadcaster has had to choose between paying bills and employee salaries.

SABC board chair Bongumusa Makhathini has highlighted that despite the R1.9 billion debt to crucial creditors such as the City of Joburg, they have resolved to prioritise salaries.

In March, the government announced that the National Treasury would be giving the SABC an interim relief and not the entire R6.8 billion guarantee it had requested.

The public broadcaster was still in dire need of funds, saying it expected creditors such as SuperSport to demand some payment.

The union has called for an urgent meeting between management and the government to discuss a cash injection, even if it came with conditions.

“You cannot throw money into bottomless pockets because you’ll come back to the crisis a couple of months down the line. So, we agree that there should be a strategy on how to serve the SABC going forward. Nothing has been done significantly to turn things around so you present a turnaround strategy that contains one thing: retrench workers.”

CWU also said it would be approaching Treasury for an update on the SABC turnaround strategy and Tshabalala said a bailout should not be a primary resource for the parastatal.

Tshabalala added that: “We think that there are plans that can make the SABC float in terms of finances. There’s a digital migration, it means that there should be more channels created for the SABC and it would mean that more workers at SABC can be redeployed.”

He said they needed to be updated from the government on the turnaround strategy announced by the communications ministry to Parliament last year.

After struggling to pay salaries in May, the SABC board said June would not be any different.

EWN