Africa

South Africa’s public broadcaster lays off 303 staff

South African Broadcasting Corporation is one of country’s largest state-owned enterprises

Hassan Isilow   | 07.01.2021
South Africa’s public broadcaster lays off 303 staff

JOHANNESBURG

South Africa’s public broadcaster announced Thursday it has retrenched 303 staff members following a lengthy consultation process.

In a statement, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said it held an extensive six-month consultation process before making the decision.

The SABC said the process comprised 48 consultations, including seven with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), a labor dispute resolution body among other stakeholders.

Last year, the indebted public broadcaster issued notices of redundancy to 600 employees following the launch of the broadcaster’s new Target Operating Model.

“After considering all options to minimize the total number of affected employees, the SABC has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 -- just under half of the originally projected 600 redundancies,’’ it said in its Thursday statement.

Last year, the public broadcaster said that the affected employees would be invited to make representations during a consultation process which will be facilitated by the CCMA.

Video footage posted on South African News website EWN showed a senior SABC woman journalist condemning the move and making a teary appeal for her affected colleagues.

“You need to go take your structure to go with it. Go and give us something that makes sense sir. We have been keeping this ship [SABC] alive,’’ the journalist told a senior executive who was visiting the broadcaster’s newsroom as reporters chanted “we can’t breathe.’’

She added: “We worked during coronavirus, we were in hospital wards every day with people who have contracted the coronavirus,’’ she said.

The SABC, which owns several radio stations and television channels, employs hundreds of permanent staff and contractors. It is among the country’s largest state-owned enterprises.

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