SABC temporarily halts retrenchment procedures

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Earlier on Tuesday, the SABC’s News Channel saw a break in broadcasting with presenters refusing to go on air as the corporation faces retrenchments. They called for management to step down.

FILE: The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) group executive for news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, on Tuesday agreed to stop issuing Section 189 letters after being confronted by angry staff.

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“As a person who accounts to you and as a person who expects you to do your job as per delivering on the public mandate, I will go and negotiate it afterward, but at this point for the work of the public service to continue, I will talk to HR [and] whoever is senior, but from a responsibility to the newsroom, I cannot continue with these letters,” Magopeni said.

Earlier, the SABC’s News Channel saw a break in broadcasting with presenters refusing to go on air as the corporation faces retrenchments. They called for management to step down.

The SABC disclosed that 400 people were being served with Section 189 notices, with about 170 posts to be filled.

Journalist Chriselda Lewis was among angry staff in the newsroom. She spoke to the group executive for news and current affairs Phathiswa Magopeni, with the staff meeting being broadcast on SABC TV.

“We have great admiration in the journalist industry in this country, do let these people do this to you. We can’t sleep [and] it’s heading towards Christmas… this is not okay,” Lewis said.

WATCH: SABC News employees convene meeting with management



COO Ian Plaatjes addressed staff members, pointing fingers at the unions.

“The unions still failed to produce one alternative, or one criteria for us to use. It was a delaying tactic that they used to just drag the process on. And I said it to them, and I’ll say it again – they failed their members in doing that.”

But staff were not happy.

One staff member said, “When they raised money for us and took it back, we worked. How many more sacrifices must we make for the SABC?”

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