Motsoeneng's 'reckless mismanagement' caused SABC's problems - Sanef

2018-09-17 12:22

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The SABC's dire financial situation is due to the "reckless mismanagement" of the corporation, epitomised by former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Monday.

"This included his mismanagement of human resources."

In a scathing statement, Sanef noted SABC's announcement on Friday that it had "met with organised labour to inform them that they were contemplating implementing section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA)" - and thus retrenchments at the SABC.

On Thursday, the financially stricken broadcaster sent out an internal statement to employees, informing them that it had met with the leadership of organised labour to inform [them] that it planned on undertaking retrenchment processes in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

"Sanef notes the dire financial situation the [SABC] finds itself in.

"The SABC had a net loss of R622m for the 2017/18 financial year. One of the biggest cost drivers was the salary bill. The SABC is a R7.2bn revenue generating company with a salary bill of R3.1bn."

Read: SABC hits back at Magashule over comments about SABC retrenchments

In the statement, Sanef said it noted the lack of oversight from Parliament and the regulator "during this dark period".

"Going forward, it is critical that the capacity of these governance and oversight structures are strengthened."

Sanef added that the cruelty of the situation was that workers were at the receiving end of leadership abuse and negligence.

'SABC's content capacity is core'

"Sanef believes that only if all other cost-cutting options have been explored, should the [SABC] contemplate retrenchments.

"If there is no other option, Sanef believes that the labour law must be closely followed with transparency and commitment to negotiate fairly with organised labour."

Sanef said the SABC leadership needed to ensure that its news gathering, content generation and management capacity were not cut.

"Sanef believes this capacity is essential for the SABC to play its key information, education and entertainment role.

"Further, we believe that the SABC's content capacity is core to ensuring its turnaround and long-term financial sustainability."

Sanef called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to ensure that it monitors the SABC's adherence to its charter, licence conditions and local content regulations.

"The SABC's ability to deliver on its mandate must not be compromised.

"Non-core support staff and administration units should be cut if anything is to be cut."

The Cape Town Press Club on Monday said it was concerned that "ordinary staffers and journalists may be the ones to unfairly bear the consequences of political interference and gross mismanagement of the SABC under its previous leadership".

"The SABC is in dire financial straits… a great deal of it due to reckless management during the tenure of [Motsoeneng]," the club said in a statement. 

"The Cape Town Press Club appeals to the board to do everything in its power to rescue the SABC without axing journalists. The people who are really responsible for the grim predicament of the state broadcaster are the ones who ought to face the consequences, not the staff and journalists who bravely raised the alarm years ago and did their best to expose the mismanagement of the SABC."

On Friday, newly appointed SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said the word "retrenchment" was not in the corporation's vocabulary.

Read more: Retrenchment is not in our vocabulary - SABC after cost-cutting internal memo

"We have communicated to our staff of intentions to start engagements with unions in relation to the cost-cutting measures that we have been going through as the corporation," Momodu said.

Momodu added that, for the past few months, the corporation had done all it could to cut costs and was now at a stage where it was looking at other measures.

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Read more on:    sanef  |  sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  media

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