SANEF proposes independent mediation process over retrenchments at SABC

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has proposed that the SABC embark on an independent mediation process to break the impasse over plans to retrench up to 400 permanent staff.

The public broadcaster has issued numerous letters to affected staff, informing them that their jobs are redundant or that they’ll have to reapply for posts. SANEF says they’ve held cordial meetings with editors and SABC management in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in Pretoria, workers have gathered outside the SABC Hatfield offices and have been addressed by the Provincial Secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) Tsephang Lesiba.

Lesiba has urged the workers not to relent in their efforts to stop the SABC from going ahead with its retrenchment process. He says the CWU will fight alongside the workers all the way. Similar protests are taking place in other SABC offices countrywide.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has called on all workers to down tools from noon on Friday in protest against the looming retrenchment of 400 permanent staff.

CWU had given management and the board until 17:00 on Thursday to stop the retrenchments and to retract all letters of redundancy that have already been issued to affected staff.

An urgent SABC board meeting took place late on Thursday and in the early hours of Friday, they issued a statement announcing that they’ve suspended the Section 189 retrenchment process for seven days to allow for further consultation.

A section of the street where the lunch-hour pickets have been held this week, has been closed. At least five police vehicles, including a nyala, have been deployed at the SABC headquarters in Auckland Park.

Workers and supporters gathered, dressed in black and in party political regalia. The strike and opposition to job cuts at the SABC have drawn support from political parties, non-governmental organisations and several trade unions.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), COPE and the ANC have been picketing with the SABC workers throughout the week.