Six hundred and twenty-one SABC staff members will leave the public broadcaster at the end of March 2021.
The SABC has finished its long-running and controversial Section 189 process ahead of transitioning into the “the new fit-for-purpose purpose structure effective 1 April 2021”, it said in a press release.
“The retrenchment process has been extremely difficult for all stakeholders and became emotionally charged at times. The extended process unfortunately also created prolonged uncertainty and a sense of despondency for many,” said SABC group CEO, Madoda Mxakwe
“This was understandable and regrettable. 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 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.”
The SABC emphasised that the reduction of employee costs was central to the SABC’s turnaround plan and its long-term sustainability. The Section 189 process began with the issuing of the notice in June 2020, and after an intensive nine month period, will conclude on 31 March 2021.
As such, 621 employees will leave at the end of this month. Three hundred and forty-six of this number are employees who, notwithstanding the existence of alternative jobs, opted for voluntary severance packages. 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. These colleagues took voluntary severance packages as a first option and chose not to participate in any alternative job-seeking processes.
The other 275 employees are those who occupied positions that have become redundant. Some employees in this category went through the recruitment process seeking alternative opportunities but were, unfortunately, not successful. The SABC used its best endeavours and managed to absorb affected employees who qualified for vacant positions during the recruitment process.
“The SABC will continue to diligently serve the tens of millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, sport, news and entertainment, in all our languages,” Mxakwe said. “We remain committed to transforming the SABC and taking its content everywhere, across platforms, on all devices and in all our languages. We want to be part of preserving this national treasure which has the public interest at the very heart of its existence.”