The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says it will soon embark on a full-blown strike against the SABC‘s restructuring process, which could see as many as 400 full-time employees lose their jobs.

A group of workers embarked on a lunch-hour picket at the public broadcaster’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, to protest against the restructuring process.

They were joined by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members as well as South African Federation of Trade Unions'(Saftu) Zwelinzima Vavi.

Addressing the gathering, CWU General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said labour unions are currently engaged in two processes at the SABC.

“One is we have to interdict. That’s what comrades at Bemawu will do. CWU will announce once it gets a certificate to embark on a fully-fledged strike. We’re going to announce sometime this week, and we’re going to make a call to all SABC workers, affected or not affected, let us make sure that there’s a blackout at the SABC. But this is the beginning of protests, marches, not only here, but across the nation.”

Close to a hundred SABC employees embark on lunchtime picket

Vavi has warned against commercialising the SABC, says retrenchments will compromise the public broadcaster’s mandate.

The SABC announced last week that it’s going ahead with retrenchments and wants to complete the process by the end of this year.

Vavi says the SABC’s current funding model is a notch away from commercialisation and the move by the public broadcaster will hit its capacity and therefore, deviate from its core mandate.

“That’s commercialisation for you and that’s austerity. The government is refusing to come to the party because it dare not increase that 3% funding. The result of it is that SABC’s capacity is going to decline big time, the next thing that we’re going to see is that there will be no journalist in the far outlining rural areas which SABC is the only institution that is currently covering because it is a public institution which has a mandate.”

Vavi says SABC retrenchments will affect the public broadcaster’s mandate:

Jobs, as many as 400, are on the line at the SABC. That’s as management says it will press on with the retrenchment plan.

SABC GCEO says they are going ahead with retrenchments: