From unpaid salaries to no retrenchments: The SABC's eventful week

01 February 2019 - 11:20 By Odwa Mjo
The SABC has called off retrenchments.
The SABC has called off retrenchments.

The cash-strapped public broadcaster has been dealt financial and administrative blows which have left its employees on the edge of their seats.

In 2018, the SABC said it needed a R3bn bailout or it would not be able to pay salaries by March 2019.

Late in 2018, four SABC board members, Mathatha Tsedu, Krish Naidoo, Khanyisile Kweyama and John Mattison, resigned following a letter from communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. In it, she accused the board of not acting in the interests of South Africa and the public broadcaster.

The SABC’s financial woes have continued to affect the broadcaster in 2019.

Salaries not paid

On Tuesday, SABC employees were shocked to find they had not been paid their January salaries.

TimesLIVE reportedly saw a notification from the Broadcasting, Electronic Media & Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) stating it was aware of the nonpayment. A staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed not receiving a salary.

Radio station SAfm issued a statement on its Twitter account reassuring employees that their salaries would be paid on Tuesday. It blamed the delay on a technical glitch at its bank.  

A Bemawu official subsequently told TimesLIVE that he had been informed by a senior SABC official that the matter had been resolved.

Retrenchments called off 

There was a sigh of relief when the public broadcaster announced on Thursday that it would not renew its notice to retrench about 2,000 employees and freelancers.

The SABC said it would undergo a comprehensive skills audit that would provide a "fit-for-purpose" structure.

SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said the decision came after much engagement with stakeholders, including  the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, organised labour and SABC employees.