Sanef concerned about ‘instability’ at SABC, seeks meeting with management

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it will be seeking a meeting with SABC management over restructuring plans.

This comes amid an emotional meeting with news staff at the SABC in Johannesburg were Group Executive of News, Phathiswa Magopeni, said she could not continue issuing letters of redundancy under the current climate.

Sanef says it is concerned about the instability at the SABC amid the looming retrenchments. As many as 400 staff could be retrenched.

The SABC was to have sent redundancy letters to affected staff by Wednesday.

Sanef Executive Director, Kate Skinner says, “The South African National Editors’ forum calls on SABC management to protect newsrooms. We’re worried about the instability at the SABC after the announcement of the impending retrenchments. Sanef calls on the SABC leadership to continue fulfil its public mandate by ensuring that its budget cuts do not curtail a number of critical services including its African language and regional programming.”

Full statement Below:

The SABC has yet to comment on whether redundancy letters that have already been issued will be reversed.

CWU General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala says, “What we heard about the reversal of letters, we’ll say it’s a temporary victory. So, the fight is not over. Phathiswa and them cannot be trusted. We need to be very firm. We need to call for the removal of the Board of SABC. What Phathiswa is saying there about approaching government is something they should have done a long time ago. They’ve been here for years now. They’ve been blaming the previous administration without turning things around.”

CWU says SABC top management can never be trusted:

Emotional scenes in the newsroom

A number of SABC employees refused to complete their shifts for the day with some saying they will not go on air.

News anchor Chriselda Lewis and some of her colleagues raised their concerns during the meeting.

“You know none of the names of these people who work here. We grew up with these people here. Sis Pat [Phathiswa Magopeni], no. When you came here, this is not what we expected from you. We can’t sleep. It’s headed towards Christmas. You have fired Portia, who the newsroom cannot survive without. It’s not ok, mam. Take your structure, go. Go with it. Give us something that makes sense, sir.”

SABC News GE stops issuing retrenchment letters: