SABC retrenchments: 275 employees lose jobs, 346 opt for voluntary severance packages

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275 SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) employees have lost their jobs following the conclusion of a section 189 (retrenchment) process that began in June last year.

Another 346 employees opted for voluntary severance packages, the state broadcaster announced in a statement on Tuesday.

621 to leave company

This means that a total of 621 employees will leave the company as of 31 March 2021 when the process concludes. SABC will then “transition into the new fit-for-purpose purpose structure effective 1 April 2021.”

SABC’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Madoda Mxakwe, described the retrenchment process as “extremely difficult for all stakeholders” and “emotionally charged at times.”

“The extended process unfortunately also created prolonged uncertainty and a sense of despondency for many. This was understandable and regrettable,” he added.

“However, despite these challenges, the Section 189 process was a necessary component of the SABC’s turnaround plan to ensure the public broadcaster’s long term financial sustainability and capacity to fulfill 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.”

R511m loss

Labour unions and some political parties, such as ANC, EFF and SA Communist Party, heavily opposed the retrenchments. SABC employees also staged protests against the job cuts last year.

SABC, which posted a loss of R511 million in its financial year ending March 2020, however pushed ahead with the process, extending consultations with labour unions and winning a court case against them.

Some of the employees who opted for voluntary severance packages did so despite job alternatives being available at the broadcaster.

“Some were concerned about the impact of lower job scale codes resulting from the organisation-wide job evaluation process on current salaries and their pension,” SABC said.

Some of the 275 who lost their jobs had opted for alternatives, but did not succeed. “The SABC used its best endeavours and managed to absorb affected employees who qualified for vacant positions during the recruitment process,” the broadcaster added.

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