Bemawu concerned about persistent climate of fear at SABC

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The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) says it is concerned about a persistent climate of fear, especially after the announcement of the partial bailout.

Union President Hannes du Buisson says many fear that this will be used to effect mass retrenchments.

“The general concern and the feeling from staff is that the SABC management at this point in time thinks that they are worthless, that they are useless and that they must and will be replaced by people externally. We know that for instance certain positions were advertised internally and there was a ‘unilateral’ decision being made by management that they are not going to appoint the best candidate, they are going to go externally and then appoint people from outside and we believe that that is an increase in head count.”

Meanwhile, the Communication Workers’ Union Secretary-General Aubrey Tshabalala says they hope that the partial bailout will be used to up skill staff, not to retrench them.

“But when you talk about what the minister has reflected on – the skills audit – those skills audits must not be used as a benchmark to retrench workers, but it should identify the skills that workers need to improve on and those who are up, how do we redeploy them when you talk of the issues of DTT. So, there’s massive work that should be done.”

The SABC will on Monday receive a R2.1 billion portion of the bailout it has requested from National Treasury.

Last week, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the SABC would only receive the portion until it fulfilled the outstanding requirements. The broadcaster is expected to get the bailout on Monday.

The public broadcaster has in total requested a R3.1 billion bailout.

SABC Board Chairperson, Bongmusa Makhathini, says all stakeholders will meet this week in a bid to fulfill the outstanding requirements for the remaining bailout from Treasury.

He says the partial bailout will come in handy as the public broadcaster embarks on a road to recovery.