The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has accused some the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) management and executives of corruption, claiming that the retrenchment process is designed to enable them to benefit from contracts with the public broadcaster.

CWU General Secretary, Aubrey Tshabalala claims some executives own production companies that could benefit by being awarded contracts to provide more content for the SABC.

“We must expose some of the corruption that is happening at SABC. Amongst others is that when workers lose jobs those production companies are standing to benefit and some within the executive at SABC are owning of those production companies. That’s why they are forging ahead regardless of the consequences. We have to expose that. We have to close down SABC if need be.

CCMA facilitated talks  

The SABC on Monday notified employees that, according to the Labour Relations Act, it was now at liberty to unilaterally implement contemplated retrenchments, following failed talks facilitated by CCMA.

Around 600 permanent staff face retrenchment and about 1 200 freelancers could have their contracts terminated.

SABC to implement contemplated retrenchments:

SABC management along with unions have made presentations to Parliament’s Communications Committee.

The fight over retrenchments at the SABC has continued to rage. This time, the management and worker representatives have given parliament differing versions of where the negotiations are at.

The unions have accused the corporation of negotiating in bad faith, while the SABC says it has gone beyond what is required to accommodate the employees.

On Friday last week, the SABC and the two recognised unions, Bemawu and the CWU, held negotiations facilitated by the CCMA. There are two versions of what happened there.

At issue was the details of the new structure and whether it would still be necessary to undertake retrenchments when it is implemented.

The unions accuse the SABC of refusing to provide answers.

Also making a presentation was the Editorial Forum for News. Radio News’ National Bulletin Editor, Zolisa Sigabi, told the meeting that the news division is in fact limping with serious staff shortages.

She said closing some offices as proposed in the new structure, will lead to a serious deficit in terms of news coverage:

However, the SABC maintains that it has gone beyond what it is required to do, to accommodate the unions. It says it has even engaged in three CCMA mediated sessions above the four stipulated by legislation.

DA Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme pleaded with the parties to the dispute to work together in the interest of the SABC.

Bemawu’s Hannes Du Buisson also spoke out against how the SABC had treated staff members accused of being employed irregularly at the company when it unceremoniously dismissed or suspended them.

SABC Board and management appear before parliament: