The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it is confident that it will complete its internal recruitment process within two weeks. The public broadcaster has given out letters of redundancy or surplus to hundreds of staff members as its retrenchment process unfolds.
Around 300 people are expected to lose their jobs.
The SABC has given itself 14 days to fill all vacant positions, saying it wants to complete the Section 189 process by February.
“At this stage, we are confident in terms of the process, a lot can change between now and then, for example, we have 170 vacancies and our planning is based around that, but hypothetically, say if 100 people opt for early retirement there is an additional 100 positions. So, it’s very difficult to say at this stage, but we are on track to meet the timelines,” says Chief Operating Officer, Ian Plaatjes.
But this will only happen if the SABC is able to avert a possible strike. Both the unions at the public broadcaster are in favour of a strike which they threaten will result in a blackout at the public broadcaster.
CWU’s Aubrey Tshabalala says the number of those who will be retrenched may have dropped to 303, but they doubt that the SABC will keep to their word.
“Our members said we must embark on industrial action to try to stop the SABC from going ahead with this retrenchment process. Obviously, we have to look at strategies what can be done considering we are on lockdown Level 3 and people are dying with COVID-19. So, we don’t want to risk our members with that situation.”
Another SABC workers union, Bemawu, says they have met with CWU and have decided to write to the board requesting an urgent meeting on the Section 189 process.
Bemawu’s Hannes Du Buisson says if the board does not respond positively there will be a strike.
“The meeting has resolved that should the board refuse to meet with labour at the SABC – that is Bemawu and CWU – then Bemawu members will proceed to participate in the strike that has already been filed by the CWU. We trust this will not be necessary and we will not be forced to resort to such drastic measures.”
Bemawu to join CWU in strike action against SABC retrenchments: Hannes Du Buisson
The SABC has, meanwhile, refuted allegations that it intends to close down African language stations. It also denies claims that it intends to discontinue African language news bulletins on television.