Deputy minister of communications Pinky Kekana also told the meeting that government would not allow retrenchments at the SABC. “We are very clear to the issue of retrenchments that we are not going to support it,” she said in her opening remarks.
But SABC COO Ian Plaatjies said in reducing staff members, the SABC was merely executing a strategy that had been developed by the National Treasury's Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), and which had been commissioned by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“It is important to remember that the recommendation of staff reduction in terms of costs has been made from that, and it's included in our turnaround plan. It's not something new.
“We are not executing on a strategy that we have developed. This is a strategy that was developed by GTAC. We are executing on a compliance issue that has been given to us by the National Treasury. This is a precondition for the bailout that we have received, that we should engage in staff reductions,” said Plaatjies.
He said nobody wanted to be associated with “the right decision” especially if it is unpopular. “Unfortunately that is where we find ourselves as an organisation,” he said.
Plaatjies said the corporation's Section 189 process was only scheduled to start on July 1. So far, they have not determined the criteria to be followed in reducing the headcount because the process has not started.
He said the process will be done with the unions in a “very humane” manner.
The SABC turnaround strategy was approved in September 2019 and the corporation received R2.1bn of the R3.2bn it was promised by the government in October.
The remaining amount was only transferred at the end of March 2020, parliament heard on Tuesday.
The bailout funds were meant to pay for debt, trade, content and capital investment and not for payroll or operational expenditure.