Broadcasting Services

South Africa's Communications Minister Opposes SABC’s Plans To Retrench

The new minister has instructed the national broadcaster’s board to place a hold on the retrenchments programme that it wanted to complete before the end of February 2019 to try to remedy its deepening financial crisis.
The SABC had come to this decision because there is a real possibility that it will not be able to pay all those salaries any longer.

Retrenching nearly a quarter of permanent staff is an undesirable option, but by trying to stop it, Ndabeni-Abrahams could plunge the corporation into even greater trouble.

According to sources close to the matter, the new minister has a lot on her plate, and the SABC retrenchmentsare just the tip of the iceberg.
She is expected to ensure that digital terrestrial television migration is fast-tracked and ensure that mobile operators get access to the new radio frequency spectrum for broadband. She is also mandated to withdraw and rewrite the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, which, if applied in its current form, will repel investors in one of the sectors that has the potential to help South Africa out of its economic woes.

Regarding the SABC’s plans to retrench, some members of the public have cited that the minister is acting outside of her powers as they believe that she is not supposed to intervene in the operational running of the SABC, which would mean that it is not her place to instruct the board not to proceed with their planned retrenchments.
The SABC is answerable only to parliament, not to the ministers thereof.

The SABC, just like any other state-owned entity, has to fund its own way and not expect taxpayers to pay for its inefficiency. In the private sector, companies cut costs when they get into financial trouble. If they don’t reduce costs, they go out of business. Many South Africans believe that this rule should be the same with state-owned enterprises.

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