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'Retrenching SABC workers not sole focus of efforts to cut costs'

SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini says the turnaround plan involves a lot more than reducing the number of the SABC’s more than 3,400 employees.

The SABC board and executive team on Tuesday 25 September 2018 presented its detailed turnaround strategy to Parliament’s communications committee. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini says it’s not correct to say that retrenching employees is the sole focus of efforts to cut costs at the public broadcaster.

While there’s been a slight improvement in the SABC’s financial performance, spending still outstrips revenue, with a loss of R622 million recorded for the past financial year.

The SABC board and executive team on Tuesday presented its detailed turnaround strategy to Parliament’s communications committee.

Consultations with unions and staff around the possibility of retrenchments under Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act began some weeks ago, but Makhathini insists the move is not definite yet.

“We’ve engaged with organised labour and our employees to communicate to them the SABC contemplates embarking on Section 189 [retrenchment] processes.”

But he says the turnaround plan involves a lot more than reducing the number of the SABC’s more than 3,400 employees.

“That notion really ignores a lot of work that’s been done to drive the corporation forward.”

Total employee costs have risen, especially during former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng's tenure, to consume more than 42% of the SABC’s operating expenditure.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)