SABC reviewing freelance contracts in radio, sports

A general view of the SABC headquarters on July 11, 2014 in Johannesburg. (GALLO IMAGES)
A general view of the SABC headquarters on July 11, 2014 in Johannesburg. (GALLO IMAGES)

The South African Broadcasting Corporation is reviewing the contracts of freelance on-air talent whose contracts are expiring in the next month, it said in a statement on Thursday.

It is doing this in line with industry best practices, it added.

The public service broadcaster is in dire straits financially and has already asked government for a bailout.

It previously proposed retrenchments, saying it intended to retrench 981 permanent employees and 1 200 freelancers in a bid to save around R440m per annum. It faced pressure not to proceed with the retrenchments, however, including from Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

According to the statement, the current review is an annual process informed by revenue, audience performance of programmes or shows, return on investment and the overall strategic direction of SABC platforms.

"Management is currently engaging with Radio and Sports freelance on-air talent about their respective contracts that are expiring on March 31, 2019," the statement said.

When he tabled his first budget last week in Parliament, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was frank regarding the financial state of the SABC, saying if the broadcaster wanted a bailout, the same chief re-organisation officer tasked with helping break Eskom into three companies would be paying Auckland Park a visit.

On Thursday morning Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications drafted a shortlist of 24 candidates to interview in order to fill eight vacancies on the SABC board. The interviews will begin on Tuesday.

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