MPs instruct SABC board to conduct skills, salary audits before cutting jobs

The SABC is in talks with unions over plans to restructure and cut costs, which could see 981 permanent employees retrenched and the loss of about 1,200 freelance jobs.

South African Broadcasting Corporation group CEO Madoda Mxakwe during a media briefing at the SABC building on 31 October 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s board and top management have been told to carry out skills and salary audits before pressing ahead with plans to cut jobs at the public broadcaster.

The SABC is technically insolvent. It’s in talks with unions over plans to restructure and cut costs, which could see 981 permanent employees retrenched and the loss of about 1,200 freelance jobs.

But Parliament’s Communications committee on Tuesday told the SABC board and management that it must first carry out audits of staff skills and wages before retrenching anyone.

The SABC says that retrenchments are unavoidable as it needs to restructure to slash costs.

CEO Madoda Mxakwe told the committee that banks are reluctant to lend money to the SABC due to its disclaimed audit opinion and doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.

But MPs across parties insisted skills and salary audits must be done first.

The ANC’s Moses Tseli: “The bottom line is that we are not in support of retrenchment and going back they must be able to assist us and not proceed with the process (of retrenchments) as if it’s business as usual.”

The DA’s Phumzile van Damme: “Our position is very clear. We’ve said that we’ll not support retrenchments until we are given a proper audit.”

The committee now wants to hear from SABC unions and staff.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)