MPs tell SABC board it needs to audit jobs and skills before retrenching

The SABC in Auckland Park, Joburg.
The SABC in Auckland Park, Joburg.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

Members of Parliament from the ANC‚ the DA and the NFP said on Tuesday national broadcaster SABC cannot be allowed to retrench 981 permanent workers and 1‚000 freelancers until it conducts a skills and salary audit.

They made this assertion during yet another meeting with the SABC board and executives to discuss the broadcaster's plans to lay off workers in terms of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act because it is bankrupt.

The legislators also lambasted the SABC board and sent them packing‚ saying they had not come to the meeting with new information on the planned retrenchments.

The MPs told the SABC board‚ led by chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini and CEO Madoda Mxekwa‚ to go back to their offices in Auckland Park to conduct a skills and salary audit and make a final determination of how much the retrenchments would cost in terms of issues such as severance pay.

"We're saying the portfolio committee on communications is not for retrenchments‚ that is our position. So we're saying go back and attend the issues that we've raised so that in the long run this issue must be put aside.

"We're there to assist you in terms of bringing all the relevant partners to assist... to bring the National Treasury and see how best we can assist you. But the bottom line is that we're not in support of retrenchments‚" said ANC MP Moses Tseli.

Another ANC MP‚ former state security minister Bongani Bongo‚ said the SABC board needed to introduce a moratorium on hiring at senior and executive level until the Section 189 matter was resolved.

"If you're going to retrench‚ give us how much are you going to spend because retrenchment is also expensive. You must pay out people‚ where's that money going to come from? Because if you retrench people you must pay severance‚" said Bongo.

The DA's Phumzile van Damme also came out in support of a skills and salary audit before retrenchments.

"I said to you: conduct a salary and skills audit and then present to us and say‚ here is the skills audit. Here we have too many legal advisers‚ here we have skills shortages‚ here the salaries are too high‚ there they are too low and because of this audit it's on that basis that we're going to retrench.

"Because you've not done that you've not given us any reason to support retrenchments‚" said Van Damme.

Nhlanhla Khubisa of the NFP also rejected the planned retrenchments.

The portfolio committee plans to travel to Auckland Park next week to hear from the SABC unions what needs to be done to save jobs at the public broadcaster.

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