On 14th July, South Africa’s Sunday Times reported that the SABC were to cut their employees by a third and shut down five of their offices as part of a strategy to alleviate their ongoing debt crisis, a claim that SABC denies.

The Sunday Times article stated that the plans would allegedly take place by August, and that a retrenchment is a precondition to the 3.2billion Rand government bailout, which the South African public broadcaster, SABC had applied for in June. 

This comes at a critical time when the SABC are faced with ‘crippling debts’ and uncertainties over whether they can pay staff salaries at the end of the month, while incurring ongoing payments to partners, service providers and the state municipality.

Yet, such claims have been refuted by SABC. On the same day, the public broadcaster published a response to the Sunday Times article on their website stating that ‘The SABC would like to put on record that it does not have any new plans to retrench staff… There was no discussion around the issue of retrenchments.’

The statement, however, states that a ‘skills audit’ is currently taking place, which the SABC propose will result in ‘staff optimisation’. This does not mention, however, what the audit will entail. 

Nevertheless, the SABC have requested for its employees ‘and the public at large’ to not panic while waiting for the funding application to be approved.

SABC’s full statement can be read here:

Header Image: SABC Television Park in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Credit: THEGIFT777/iStock