The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been warned by the ANC against proceeding with its planned job cuts, according to a report by the City Press.
The report cited a meeting which took place last week, where high-ranking ANC members reportedly told the SABC that the planned job cuts would embarrass the party and cost it votes in the upcoming election.
In June 2020, the SABC announced its intention to lay off a large amount of staff in an effort to improve its financial position.
The public broadcaster said it planned to lay off approximately 600 full-time employees as well as 1,200 freelance workers.
A source told the City Press that the recent meeting between the ANC and the SABC saw the ruling party reminding the SABC that it supported the broadcaster’s R3.2-billion bailout last year.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told the City Press that while this meeting did take place, it was a private meeting that simply saw the ANC delegation sharing its views on the proposed job cuts.
“As an important stakeholder, being the governing party, we were pleased that we had an opportunity to state our views,” Mabe said.
New operating model
The SABC previously said these planned job cuts comprise a key part of its new turnaround strategy, which focuses on making the company sustainable and self-sufficient.
“The notice follows the launch of the SABC’s new Target Operating Model – a strategic renewal initiative aimed at transforming the Corporation into a financially sustainable, self-sufficient, and fit-for-purpose public broadcaster,” the public broadcaster said upon the announcement of the job cuts.
“The SABC has a duty to ensure the continued viability of the Corporation so that it may fulfil its public mandate and effectively serve the millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, information, and entertainment.”
The affected employees were invited to make representations during a consultation process facilitated by the CCMA.
“This is to ensure full transparency, accountability and impartiality in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995,” the SABC said.
“Organised labour, as well as representatives of the non-unionised employees, will be consulted within a meaningful joint consensus-seeking process as mandated by Section 189 of the LRA.”
The SABC has received numerous bailouts payments, with the most recent being the final instalment of a R3.2-billion bailout allocated by the government last year.
The public broadcaster previously stated that this money went towards the payment of SABC’s creditors, investment in content acquisition, and the maintenance of its infrastructure.
“It is also worth noting that the SABC holds a monthly monitoring meeting with Treasury and the Department of Communications on the utilisation of the bailout funds,” the SABC added.
This most recent bailout was necessary to ensure the continued operation of the SABC, Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird previously told MyBroadband.
“As much as bailouts have been granted with little basis and no improvement before, the SABC needs the resources and is fulfilling an essential service,” agreed director at Media Monitoring Africa William Bird.
“With broadcasters saying they have lost up to 60% revenue and with our economy being in recession, I really doubt the SABC will be able to operate and meet its public mandate conditions without serious cuts to their operations,” he said.