The Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) held a picket outside the SABC on Wednesday in an effort to have its organisational rights reinstated.
“The SABC confirmed our numbers are compliant with threshold requirements; however some of our members have dual membership according to the SABC’s HR information management system,” general secretary of the union, Tuwani Gumani, told TheMediaOnline. Gumani said this was a “euphemism for what they have been doing in regulating ‘freedom of association’ in favour of their lap-dog unions that have not raised an eyebrow over the myriad performance and accountability failures of the SABC as confirmed by the PPCC recently”.
“Also, this confirms what MWASA had always claimed that the exclusion of MWASA from social dialogue processes was never about membership numbers but about our opposition to haphazard approaches to the challenges of the turnaround strategy for the SABC,” Gumani said.
Gumani said MWASA only received full permission to hold the picket late on Tuesday and had limited time to make the necessary preparations. “Our numbers were below expectation but sufficient given the logistical challenges which also were in keeping with the realities that this was not ‘industrial action’ and that we had not expected our members at Radio and TV-Parks to abandon their workstations,” he said.
Gumani said board members, including Cedric Gina, Suzanne Vos and Lumko Mthimde received the memo, accompanied by GCEO Lulama Mokhobo communications head, Kaizer Kganyago.
Gumani said the SABC has 14-calender days to address the issues captured in MWASA’s memorandum. “Some of the issues are obviously beyond the scope of the board and the executive,” he said.
Gumani said it was of “major concern the SABC continues to fail to appreciate the core details and nuances of the Right to Freedom of Association where the executive and board of the public institution continue to annex unilateral and ultra-legal control of and regulation the right of employees to choose a union of their choice”.
Gumani said since 31 May 2012, employees who had issued a clear instruction to the SABC to recognise their preference for MWASA membership, have not been allowed to do so until they complete a special resignation-form yet to be designed by the SABC.
“Whilst some of the clearly enraged members have instructed MWASA to lodge criminal charges against the SABC in terms of section 34 of the BCEA, we hope that we will not be driven beyond the diplomatic positions we have maintained in a bid to allow some sense to prevail even after 13-months of strife and financial ruin. An apt but regrettable reference was made by Board-member and NUMSA President, Cedric Gina to the unfortunate but all-too-prevalent Lonmin-Marikana Mine labour relations situation,” said Gumani.
Gumani said it was “irresponsible for the SABC to continue to ignore facts that could be independently verified and would set the record straight.
“It is dangerous to protect an unsustainable arrangement of convenience such as that between the SABC and its favoured unions”.
Gumani listed the “dismal performance” of the SABC in terms of the SIU and Auditor-General’s recommendations; the “non-starter turnaround strategy” and the failure to progress in terms of skills development as well as employment equity programmes as being a manifestation of this approach. “It is unacceptable that the SABC’s future is compromised simply for the joyride of excluding MWASA from constructive and results-driven social dialogue within the SABC.”
PHOTO: SOS Coalition to support public broadcasting.