The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) announced that it will cut up to 400 jobs – which is 200 fewer than the 600 it was previously considering retrenching.
The public broadcaster said it has exhausted all other options, and it has to take this step to ensure sustainability going forward.
“In carefully considering all proposals from organised labour and other stakeholders, it became clear that, sadly, our organisation requires a difficult but necessary restructuring process that will result in the reduction of staff,” the SABC said.
“The SABC is fully cognisant of the fact that this process will affect people’s livelihoods and, moreover, have a knock-on effect on their families and communities.”
“However, having exhausted all other options, we are now faced with the difficult task of having to restructure the organisation to ensure its sustainability,” the state broadcaster added.
The SABC said it conducted 16 consultative sessions over four months with multiple stakeholders, which significantly exceeds the statutory minimum requirement of four meetings over two months.
It said it used these sessions as a platform to meaningfully engage in a joint consensus-seeking process.
“The SABC has considered all options to minimise the total number of affected employees. As such, we have been able to reduce the total number of impacted people to approximately 400, which is significantly less than the originally projected figure of 600,” the SABC said.
“In addition, there are approximately 170 vacant positions that will be available for employees to apply for which provides the potential of further reducing the number of affected employees to 230.”
All affected employees will be offered a severance package of one week for each completed year of service, the SABC said.
The SABC added that it will also implement and consider other cost-cutting alternatives, including:
- Freezing salary increases for three years
- Reducing employee leave days from 35 calendar days to 28 days
- Discontinuing the encashment of leave days
- Reducing sick leave from 30 days annually to reflect the 36 days in a three-year cycle aligned to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
“We reiterate that, while this decision was not an easy one, it is regrettably a necessary one for the long-term sustainability of the SABC,” SABC Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said.
“An insolvent SABC serves no one, not our employees or our citizens who rely on the SABC for transparent, fair and ethical public broadcasting services.”
“Addressing the SABC’s huge cost base, together with recently announced new revenue deals, will ensure that the public broadcaster is able to properly execute its mandate to serve the people of South Africa for decades to come,” he said.