Senior managers to be targeted in SABC’s turnaround plan

2011-01-22 19:57

The top-heavy management structure of the SABC will be tackled in its turnaround plan, the biggest union in the embattled broadcaster heard this week.

The Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) was given a glimpse of the plan at a meeting with Robin Nicholson, the acting group CEO.

Nicholson told union officials that the plan was in essence one mooted by Mokoetle’s predecessor, Dali Mpofu, and designed by Gemini Consulting “with a tweak here and there”.

“Nicholson told us that the turnaround strategy had been formulated around six key themes,” Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson said.

These were:

» leadership and governance;

» financial management and control;

» reorganisation and people alignment;

» human capital development;

» improving return on program operations; and

» restoring the credibility of the SABC brand.

In August 2009 Business Day reported that it had obtained documents showing that Nicholson and the SABC’s head of strategy, Sipho Sithole, spent about R48 million on consultants in the previous two years, including R38.6 million on Gemini Consulting.

Gemini was contracted to implement the strategy designed by Mpofu.

When Bemawu asked Nicholson for a copy of the Gemini plan, Du Buisson said, “Nicholson said it would take a lorry to transport it”.

The Gemini report found that the SABC was overstaffed and was particularly top-heavy with managers, Du Buisson said.

Nicholson assured Bemawu that nobody in the union’s bargaining unit (junior and officials earning lower wages) would be affected by retrenchments.

Senior managers would be targeted, Du Buisson said: “We were told that we needed to worry only if we had members in the group executive.”

The union also heard that structural problems, such as general managers reporting to general managers, would be solved in the process.

Nicholson asked for the union’s cooperation in developing a schedule “to consult about the implementation of the plan”.

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