Thursday, January 7, 2021

BREAKING. South Africa's public broadcaster says it has completed its retrenchment plan that will now see 303 SABC staffers lose their jobs.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's public broadcaster will get rid of 303 staffers with the SABC that says it has completed its long and drawn-out Section 189 retrenchment process although more workers could be let go and lose their jobs if some staffers don't accept voluntary retrenchment packages or early retirement offers.

The bloated and over-staffed SABC that is mired in massive financial problems has to let workers go although the struggling broadcaster had been criticised for the non-transparent and seemingly chaotic way it has gone about it.

The SABC initially planned to get rid of over 600 permanent staffers as well as hundreds of freelance workers but on Wednesday in a statement said that the SABC "has concluded its section 189 process after an extensive 6-month consultation process" and that 303 workers will lose their jobs.

On 23 November 2020 the SABC board - after facing criticism from some political parties like the ANC and EFF, trade unions like Bemawu and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and shocking scenes unfolding from within the SABC News newsroom - suspended the retrenchment process for 30 days until 2021.

"After considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 - just under half of the originally projected 600 redundancies," the SABC says in a statement.

"However, the final number of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who will opt for Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and early retirement," the SABC says.

"The SABC acknowledges that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stakeholders and emotionally-charged at times. The extended process also created prolonged uncertainty."

"However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financial sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of South Africa in all our languages and across all platforms."