BEMAWU dismisses SABC overstaffing statement by Ndabeni-Abrahams

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The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) says up to 1 000 permanent and freelance workers have left the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in recent months and the issue of overstaffing is therefore not true.

When Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams addressed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Wednesday, she said the public broadcaster’s financial crisis was a result of bloated staff numbers.

BEMAWU president Hannes Du Buisson says they do not agree with the minister’s statement on the staffing situation at the SABC.

“We do not believe that there is an excess of staff. We have figures that about 1000 people have left the SABC since the Section 189 process has started. We know that a number of independent contractors’ contracts have not been renewed. A lot of people went on early retirement. Other people left because of the instability at the SABC. The SABC has got all the tools in the world to become very competitive,” says Du Buisson.

Meanwhile, there was tension between Ndabeni-Abrahams and the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Phumzile van Damme over the Minister’s handling of the SABC.

This happened after Van Damme accused Ndabeni-Abrahams of abandoning the SABC in November 2018.

Van Damme said: “So don’t act like you have been working with the SABC. You said you will stop working with the SABC. So if you say now you have buried the hatchet and you are working with the SABC, congratulations. And the devil you speak of who is going to come between you and the board, you best not be speaking about any member of this committee and chair please, protect us if ministers are going to insinuate that there are devils.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams responded: “And as a matter of information once more, as much as I have said this (not working with the SABC) in a letter, SABC will tell you honourable members, I did not stop engaging with them. I never stopped engaging with them, as much as that’s what I said in the letter.”

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