SABC gives “shocking” salary increases to staff

The SABC has come under fire for giving staff above-inflation increases at a time when the country is under massive financial pressure, according to a report by the City Press.

The state-funded broadcaster has given staff salary increases of between 5% – 6%, with government sources stating the move was “shocking” and that the National Treasury would not be pleased.

The SABC’s long history of financial problems – it has not made a profit in six years – and large bailouts received from the government are more reasons the pay increases have been met with disbelief.

The government source added the SABC will “likely return to government with a begging bowl within months”.

Independent journalists who spoke to the City Press said that a time when some of them are only receiving 60% of their salaries due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it was upsetting to see that taxpayers’ money was being used to give SABC staff salary increases.

The SABC confirmed the salary increases in the report, and said they were part of a three-year wage agreement with employees.

This agreement was entered into with labour unions before the lockdown, stated the SABC. It added that the “bailout money” from the government was not used for the increases.

SABC bailouts

The latest salary increases come after the government gave the SABC a bailout of R2.1 billion in October 2019.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said at the time the R2.1-billion lifeline was part of a short-term turnaround plan.

The bailout followed the SABC stating it was technically insolvent and was struggling to honour payments to service providers and contractual obligations.

The SABC reported in September 2019 it had suffered a net loss of R482 million for the 2018/19 financial period.

Associated Media Publishing closing

Private traditional media companies, particularly in the print space, have been hit hard by South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Associated Media Publishing, which published Cosmopolitan, House & Leisure, Good Housekeeping, and Women on Wheels, shut its doors on 1 May.

The company was founded in 1982 by Jane Raphaely, who was succeeded by her daughter Julia Raphaely.

Raphaely said they made every effort to continue operating, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic killed the company.

This major factors which negatively impacted the company were:

  • The closure of printing and distribution channels.
  • The global halt in advertising spend.
  • The inability to host events in the foreseeable future.

Other private media companies including Independent Newspapers, Arena Holdings, and Media24 have either told staff there will not be salary increases this year, or salary reductions would be implemented, added the City Press.

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SABC gives “shocking” salary increases to staff