WATCH | Emotions run high at SABC as colleagues bid farewell to each other

This week the public broadcaster announced it was letting go of 621 employees after it had concluded its section 189 retrenchment process.
This week the public broadcaster announced it was letting go of 621 employees after it had concluded its section 189 retrenchment process.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

Emotions ran high at the SABC's headquarters on Wednesday as colleagues bid farewell to each other, after the retrenchment of more than 600 employees.

This week the public broadcaster announced it was letting go 621 employees after it had concluded its section 189 retrenchment process. Of those leaving the organisation, 346 are employees who opted for voluntary severance packages.

Last year, the broadcaster said it was initially going to let go 400 employees but the number went up when people were to be placed in lower job scale codes meaning their salaries would be affected.

“Some were concerned about the effect of lower job scale codes resulting from the organisation-wide job evaluation process, on current salaries and their pension. These colleagues took voluntary severance packages as a first option and chose not to participate in any alternative job-seeking processes,” said acting SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo.


SABC group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the retrenchment process was “extremely difficult for all stakeholders” and became emotionally charged at times but was “a necessary component of the SABC’s turnaround plan to ensure the public broadcaster’s long-term financial sustainability and capacity to fulfil its extensive public mandate”.

“The process was necessary to preserve and reposition the SABC as a resilient and viable public broadcaster and public media organisation,” he said.

On social media, SABC foreign editor Sophie Mokoena shared videos of staff bidding farewell to each other.

“SABC colleagues you are the best. You served the nation, Africa and the world with distinction. You worked tirelessly during the most difficult time in the history of the country, continent and world during the pandemic,” said Mokoena.


In a now-viral video, news presenter Desiree Chauke broke down while presenting a bulletin.

“It is the last day of service for more than 600 SABC employees. In a notice to staff the public broadcaster said it had concluded its section 189 retrenchment process and will transition into a new structure from April 1,” she said while stuttering and breaking down.

“I apologise I am not able to finish the link, can I ask the producers to take a break.”

She also thanked Mzansi after her breakdown, saying she was grateful to still be employed.

“Thanks for the sweet messages. I’m grateful to still be employed while many of my very capable colleagues face an uncertain future. We’re all in this together,” she said.


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