- According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) concerns over the closure of its radio stations are unfounded.
- The public broadcaster apologised for "miscommunication" on the matter.
- In a statement to the media the SABC said the proposed new structures would promote and support the current needs of audiences.
"As things stand now and if the situation stays the same then I don't know how we will be able to keep the station on air from 1 January," RSG station manager, Magdaleen Kruger said live on air earlier this week as news broke that the SABC was issuing letters of dismissal to almost 10% of its staff.
The retrenchment process, which has since been halted for a week, sent shockwaves through the country.
"At RSG the 5 permanent presenters…all got letters, chilling, cold letters just saying your service is herewith terminated from 1 December," Kruger added on air.
As concerns grew over the future of the SABC’s radio stations, social media was soon flooded with misinformation and rumours.
This has prompted the SABC to now set the record straight in statement to the press, saying; "The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has noted with concern the media reports insinuating that SABC management is closing down its radio services.
"The SABC would like to put it on record that these reports are not true. The SABC is fully cognisant that millions of South African citizens rely on SABC radio as the most accessed communication medium. Therefore, it is disingenuous to report such misinformation. It must be noted that on the contrary, the radio stations’ proposed structures are promoting and supporting the current needs of audiences such as digital transformation," Mmoni Seapolelo, acting spokesperson for the SABC said.
Kruger also took to air again to douse social media fires clarifying that RSG was not closing its doors. "No, RSG is not going to close or stop existing," Kruger said, adding that the station would be negotiating freelance contracts with its presenters affected by the current process.
"Freelance contracts are not uncommon," she highlighted and ensured listeners that most of the changes would be happening behind the scenes and would not impact the voices heard on RSG.
Seapolelo added; "SABC management would like to apologise for the miscommunication regarding this matter and urges the public to only trust official communication from the SABC. Management would also like to take this opportunity to thank SABC employees who have kept the platforms on air throughout this process."
According to the SABC’s latest statement the public service broadcaster takes its mandate - which is to inform, educate and entertain in all official languages - very seriously, and will continue to deliver on this mandate through its radio, television and digital platforms.
"The SABC has growth strategies in place aimed at ensuring that its radio stations remain the leading source of information, education and entertainment for the millions of South Africans it has been mandated to serve," Seapolelo said.