South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon has told Parliament’s Communications Committee during an online meeting, on Wednesday, that the public broadcaster has addressed most of the low hanging fruit when it comes to cost-cutting and the salary bill now needs to be tackled.
This comes after the SABC sent a Section 189 notice to staff, saying it was contemplating possible retrenchments of as many as 600 fulltime workers.
The contracts of 1 200 freelancers could also be terminated.
The SABC executives told the committee that they expect a 400% increase in losses as the country battles coronavirus.
Van Biljon has told the committee that the public broadcaster has to do what is necessary, even if it is very painful.
‘No to retrenchments’
Earlier, Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana objected to any retrenchments at the public broadcaster.
Democratic Alliance Committee Member, Phumzile van Damme, has told the SABC executives that the skills audit process should be completed before any retrenchments are considered.
Van Damme says SABC staffers are very worried.
“We have a letter that was sent to us from the SABC Editorial staff and it’s very concerning there are concerns that staff were not consulted and were not given back feedback of the audit. You need to go. You need to finish the audit and take the staff with you. There is a lot of competing interest. They must be able to self-sustain, two staff members, can I request that when you deal with processes deal with it with dignity aware of the anxiety … so where are these people going to get their jobs.”