Tuesday, 30 March 2021 09:39

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it has has concluded its section 189 retrenchment process, which will see 621 people leaving the group at the end of March.

The reduction of employee costs is 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 (9) month period, will conclude on 31 March 2021.

Subsequent to the conclusion of the resourcing of the new structure, the total number of employees who will leave the organisation at the end of March 2021 is 621. Three hundred and forty-six (346) 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 SABC said.

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’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Madoda Mxakwe, says, "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. 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 fulfill 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 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. 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, Mxakwe said."

The broadcaster said it will transition into a new 'fit-for-purpose structure', effective 1 April 2021.