Non-profit advocacy organisation, Right2Know, has threatened to take legal action against the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) if the retrenchment and restructuring process undermines the public’s right to information.
SABC employees affiliated to the Communications Worker’s Union are protesting on Friday after the public broadcaster began its process of retrenchment and letters have been issued to staff informing them that their positions are either redundant or that they are considered surplus and have to reapply for their jobs.
The retrenchment process affects 400 permanent workers. The Board of the SABC has suspended the process for seven days in order to allow all stakeholders to engage and explore further options. Right2Know says millions of poor and marginalised South Africans rely on the public broadcaster as their main source of information.
The organisation says while the SABC is facing financial challenges and fights to obtain economic stability, it should not be run like a private company that focuses only on profit.
Right2Know Countering Repression Organiser, Thami Nkosi, says the public broadcaster has a constitutional mandate to keep the nation informed.
“The SABC is a source of information, a source of education so that the citizens can actually be able to make informed decisions and one of the problems with the SABC falling into a mandate that is not necessarily in line with the constitutional demand of what the public broadcaster should be will have a dire effect on the functioning of our democracy because then it simply means that there will be sections of society that will be excluded from accessing information. What we calling for is that the SABC stays true to the mandate that is has to serve the people of this country. Some communities depend solely on radio for example so the threat of shutting down certain radio stations or minimising the effect of certain radio stations would have a dire impact. “