SABC Board Chairperson slates deputy for speaking out about board divisions

Bongumusa Makhathini,
Reading Time: 4 minutes

SABC Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini has criticised his deputy, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, for speaking out against job cuts at the SABC.

Mohlala-Mulaudzi says five board members are opposed to the retrenchment of 400 permanent staff at the public broadcaster. The SABC board has three executive members and 11 non-executive members.

Mohlala-Mulaudzi’s comments come after SABC management confirmed that it’s continuing with retrenchments.

Mohlala-Mulaudzi says, “Those of us who against the (section) 189, have taken the stance that we have taken because we do not want a blackout at the SABC. And in view that yesterday, we posted a negative result in relation to the growth of the institution. That in itself, coupled with the blackout, will really spiral down a wrong path and we don’t want that to happen because at the end of the day, everybody loses, the SABC loses, the staff of the SABC loses, the board of the SABC loses.”

Makhathini has acknowledged that some board members are opposed to the retrenchments but says the board has mandated management to implement the restructuring and his deputy has to respect that resolution.

“When a board resolution has been validly adopted and taken, mandating management to implement a particular resolution, that becomes a board resolution. So, it is a bad practice to attempt to reach a consensus outside of a board meeting, and it is highly unfortunate that our deputy chair has taken it upon herself to break from the collective, and even started divulging how other board members voted. That’s unprocedural and that’s not in line with our board charter.”


SABC retrenchments | SABC board chair speaks:

At a heated meeting in the newsroom between management and staff on Tuesday, Group Executive of News Phathiswa Magopeni said she couldn’t continue issuing letters of redundancy to affected staff.

SABC Group Executive for News stops issuing retrenchment letters to staff:

Morale at an all-time  low at the SABC

“I’ve been working for the SABC since 1987. That’s 34 years on 1st March. I am 55 years old,” says a SABC employee.

This is one of the many SABC employees facing retrenchment. The employee received a letter informing him that his position had become redundant. He had seen the new structure and realised that this would happen as his position was not included, but receiving the letter was still difficult for him. Being 55, he says early retirement, despite the penalties, looks like the better option.

“My family is clearly upset. My wife is in the same boat as I am. We both work for the SABC. She is expecting a letter today. We have three children, two at university, one in a special needs school. It’s going to be tough on joint pensions to make ends meet. With us both over the age of 55, we are more or less unemployable.”

Workers in the Durban office are the latest to receive letters, despite the meeting on Tuesday.

The external radio service of the SABC, Channel Africa has served 96% of staff with letters, with only four positions not affected. The SABC administers Channel Africa on behalf of the Communications Department.

Channel Africa staff say they don’t understand why they should be affected as they are directly funded by the department.

Unions have called for the retraction of the letters.

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams opposed to job cuts

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has again expressed opposition to the job cuts. The minister says there has to be a negotiated settlement.

“This morning I met with the Minister of Labour and Employment Minister Nxesi to say how do we work together in order to try and resolve the impasse, that is between the board, SABC management and its staff. Because it is our responsibility once more, as government to make sure that at all times we minimise the impact of people losing jobs. Because it becomes the burden of the state again when people lose jobs.”

SABC staff hope that management and the board will come out of a meeting with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on communications, with a different position on retrenchments.

The shareholder can only provide advice, oversight: Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams: