Proposed new structures under review

SABC board suspends retrenchments for a month

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter

The SABC board has climbed down and acceded to the demands by workers to suspend retrenchments at the public broadcaster for a month.

The public broadcaster announced on Tuesday following a management meeting with unions that it has has extended the suspension of the Section 189 process, to the end of December 2020, to enable additional consultations. 

"During this period, the SABC management and its employees, will jointly work with all participating parties, to further review the proposed structures with the intent to ensure that they are optimal and enabling to achieve the public mandate of the SABC," said SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo.

"The SABC and the participating parties will utilise this time for further mediated sessions with an independent labour expert to explore alternative options to minimising the impact of retrenchments. The issued redundancy letters will also be extended by the same period. The Section 189 process has not been terminated."

Insiders who attended the unions meeting with management told Sowetan that COO Ian Plaatjies and group executive for Human Resources Dr Mojaki Mosia said there would be a further review of the proposed new structures for various divisions.

The review of the structures, according to feedback from management, is being done to ensure the new structures were "optimal and enabling" to achieve the public mandate of the SABC.

The redundancy letters issued to some staff members would also be suspended for a period of 30 days, according to sources, to allow further engagements and consultations on the retrenchments to conclude first.

During the 30 days, the SABC will, however, continue to "elicit responses" from those willing to apply for early retirement or voluntary severance packages.

On Monday, SABC board met with Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, her deputy Pinky Kekana and Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi, who asked the board to save jobs and consider the retrenchments as a last resort.

Management was however adamant that retrenchments were not being terminated.

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