Photo Credit:Robbie Tshabalala.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board and Management were sent packing by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, after being accused of lying and failing to answer questions put before it by lawmakers.
Members of the African National Congress (ANC) were adamant that there was no basis to continue with SABC’s presentation until they address previous questions related to their turnaround strategy.
African National Congress Member of Parliament Lesiba Molala and Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana argued that the SABC Board had lied before the committee on issues such as skills audit, consultations with the unions and other stakeholders.
Kekana made it clear that she was on the side of the unions, who want Section 189 dropped, and the process be started all over again.
However, opposition parties felt that the Department of Communications had no business in interfering with the SABC’s operational matters.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament Phumzile Van Damme and Economic Freedom Fighters’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said that the SABC must be heard and that if there are any further issues the ANC feels have not been covered, they can do so in writing.
After two hours of toing and froing, the SABC Board was sent back, with a clear instruction to return with all the answers to the questions put forward by lawmakers.
SABC said it was trying to turn the broadcaster into a financially stable and self-sufficient organisation and had therefore issued Section 189 notices.
The public broadcaster had notified 600 employees that they could be retrenched. The SABC met with unions and employees as it planned to begin the retrenchment process.
SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe said affected employees would have an opportunity to make representations at a consultation process, which would be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
The SABC said this process would be transparent, open, and impartial following the Labour Relations Act.