Minister of Communications and Digital Technology Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) should ensure that it has explored all avenues before reaching a decision on Section 189.

Ndabeni-Abrahams was addressing the media during the official launch of the JL Dube Free Broadband, which is an internet connection in Mpumuza area outside Pietermaritzburg, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

“For SABC to say they are looking at whatever staff components in order to reduce their costs they have to convince us that they followed all those steps that were highlighted, the kind of SABC that we want to see in the future and therefore for the skills that must respond to that to SABC.”

“I want to see and therefore introduce a programme that must up skills of those already internal including saying as we will be rolling out digital migration and introducing more channels how many people are we going to need in the channel that we are going to introduce.”

In the video below, unions are concerned about planned SABC retrenchments:

The African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters have also rejected the SABC’s decision to cut jobs.

Last week, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule urged the public broadcaster and other state enterprises to reconsider laying off workers.

“We don’t want people to lose their jobs that is our bottom line and I think we are encouraging all our state entities, we are encouraging including the public sector, we are encouraging SABC. Imagine the SABC retrenching 600 people during this COVID, what is going to happen to the lives of these people, what is going to happen to their houses, what is going to happen to their cars, what is going to happen to their children, these are people who are breadwinners, you might be a journalist but you are part of society and that is the position we are actually pushing,” says Magashule.

The EFF also condemned the decision, saying it will only lead to the demise of the public broadcaster.

EFF Spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya said the SABC should look at other ways of revenue generation, such as selling television content to the overseas market, to become financially viable and retain jobs.

The SABC issued employees with a Section 189 notice with the possibility of cutting 600 permanent jobs and 1 200 freelance posts.

The organisation cited a dire financial situation as the main reason.

In 2019, the public broadcaster was granted a R3.2 billion bailout by government.