By Ntombi Nkosi on IOL
It was a sad day for 621 employees from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) after it announced that it’s going ahead with retrenchments.
The broadcaster said in a statement that the monumental retrenchment process was due to its unhealthy financial situation, attributed to its bloated wage bill.
SABC said it has concluded its Section 189 process and will transition into the new fit-for-purpose structure effective from April 1, 2021.
Speaking to Independent Media, one employee said: “I really don’t know how to feel, I am heartbroken and don’t know what the future holds for me. I am one of the people that has been receiving counselling organised by HR.”
The broadcaster said the reduction of employee costs is central to its turnaround plan and its long-term sustainability. The Section 189 process began with the issuing of the notice in June 2020, and after an intensive nine-month period, it will conclude on Wednesday.
“The retrenchment process has been extremely difficult for all stakeholders and became emotionally charged at times. The extended process unfortunately also created prolonged uncertainty and a sense of despondency for many.
’’This was understandable and regrettable. However, despite these challenges, the Section 189 process was a necessary component of the SABC’s turnaround plan to ensure the public broadcaster’s long-term financial sustainability and capacity to fulfil its extensive public mandate,” said SABC’s Group Chief Executive, Madoda Mxakwe.
He added that the process was necessary to preserve and reposition the SABC as a resilient and viable public broadcaster and public media organisation.
“The SABC will continue to diligently serve the tens of millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, sport, news and entertainment in all our languages. We remain committed to transforming the SABC and taking its content everywhere, across platforms, on all devices and in all our languages.
’’We want to be part of preserving this national treasure which has the public interest at the very heart of its existence,” said Mxakwe
SABC said 346 of the 621 employees, notwithstanding the existence of alternative jobs, opted for voluntary severance packages.
The broadcaster said some employees were concerned about the impact of lower job scale codes resulting from the evaluation process on current salaries and their pension. They took voluntary severance packages as a first option and chose not to participate in any alternative job-seeking processes.
The other 275 employees are those who occupied positions that have become redundant. Some employees in this category went through the recruitment process seeking alternative opportunities, but were unfortunately not successful.