New communications minister at war with the SABC over job cuts

New Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is reportedly “at war” with the SABC board and has threatened to report it to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is according to the City Press, which reported on the matter.

Ramaphosa announced that the Department of Communications and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services will be merged in November.

The former Minister of Telecommunications Siyabonga Cwele is now the new Minister of Home Affairs.

Nomvula Mokonyane was appointed as Environmental Affairs minister, stepping down from the top position at the now-former Department of Communications.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams heads up the new merged department as the Minister of Telecommunications.

However, two weeks after the appointment the report states that Ndabeni-Abrahams is fighting the SABC board over job cuts.

Retrenchments of 981 permanent staff and 1,200 freelancers are set to take place as the SABC looks to turn around its poor financial state.

Earlier this week, Ndabeni-Abrahams said it is in the government’s interest to make sure that nobody loses their jobs at the SABC.

“We pride ourselves in being a caring government. We have a responsibility to reduce unemployment. We have a responsibility to grow the economy,” she said.

However, job cuts at the SABC are seen as crucial if the broadcaster has a chance of making itself an enterprise that does not continually need government bailouts.


The report stated that the SABC board has refused to allow the minister to “negotiate a bailout with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni before going ahead with the job cuts”.

The SABC has stated that by March 2019, it will not have money to pay salaries, but Ndabeni-Abrahams has put forward the idea of a R3-billion government guarantee which was previously discussed.

The money, which will come from taxpayers, will fund the SABC.

The report further stated that Ndabeni-Abrahams and several colleagues have already met with unions and SABC staff about the matter.

“She is trying to set the SABC board up to be dissolved and she is using the retrenchments to do it. It is political, it is about asserting control and, of course, it is also because of the elections,” said a source.

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New communications minister at war with the SABC over job cuts