Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


The S189 process at the SABC is a mess. A BIG mess. A mess mainly caused by its Human Resources Department.

In what appears to be a race against nothing in particular, the SABC is steamrolling ahead on a collision course.

The notice period for employees have already been postponed with a month, as it was abundantly clear the SABC would not meet its self-set deadline of February 2021.

BEMAWU has warned the SABC on several occasions that it would not be able to implement the new (disputed) structure in the time envisaged by the SABC.

The majority of posts were not advertised by the end of January, and the SABC Human Resources Department was not remotely ready to implement the new structure.

Job evaluations were not done and even as late as the last week of February employees received letters changing their status from so-called surplus to redundant.

This off course is patently unfair.

Employees who received surplus letters were strictly (according to HR of the SABC) only allowed to compete for their own position. If unsuccessful, only then for other advertised positions.

This did not happen.

At the end of February 2021 more than 80 positions that appear on the new structure were not advertised.

This simply means more than 80 employees would be without jobs who could have been placed in vacant positions had the Human Resources Department been doing it’s job.

It is estimated that more than 570 staff would have left the SABC by the end of March 2021. This is 30 short of the threatened 600 and almost 300 more than the target. This excludes the more than 80 positions not advertised.

Positions are now advertised inviting everyone to apply, whilst a number of redundant (and so-called surplus) workers have not been placed.

By opening vacant positions for everyone to apply, employees who are not redundant could possibly be appointed in vacant positions in which redundant employees could have been placed. This is in direct contradiction with S189 that place a duty and obligation on the employer to first accommodate its redundant employees.

In sheer desperation (and obviously unfairly) the SABC has advertised positions on Saturday via email with the deadline to apply set for 3 March 2021. This is three (3) working days only. A clear breach of SABC Policy committed by the same management who dragged employees to court alleging previous management breached recruitment policy.

This simply means for employees not placed in those positions, notice must be April 2021. It also means the new structure will not be implemented by 1 March 2021.

It will be impossible to shortlist, put together a panel and interview all applicants in the short space of time.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


An Independant Labour expert and facilitator advised the SABC to extend the consultation process until the third week of January 2021 to make it fair.

Adv Joe Campanella, appointed by the SABC to facilitate the extended 30 days threatened to withdraw from the process and wave his fees for the day, when management refused.

Mosia Mojaki told the facilitator he is not going to get the answer to an extention, as this is not how governance structures work.

On 21 December 2020 the facilitator suggested that the process must be extended till the 3rd week of January 2021 due to the time of the year and the fact that employees would not be available to give final input in the process.

During the 30 days extended consultation the SABC confirmed parties have not consulted on the alternatives in the previous round of consultations.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


The SABC has confirmed it freelance expenses have increased at a time when hundreds of SABC employees stand to loose their jobs.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


Imatlafatse is a current affairs programme on Lesedi FM.

It broadcasts from 12:05 to 12:30 on weekdays only, a mere 25 minutes per day.

Imatlafatse generates on average R1m per month.

According to the SABC’s planned restructuring, however this is not good enough.

If restructuring plans go ahead, Imatlafatse will disappear in the new year and so will R1m per month for only 25 minutes.


25 minutes = R1m

50 minutes = R2m

0 minutes = R0



Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


When the 2020 consultation process in terms of S189 started, the first facilitated meeting under the auspices of the CCMA could not proceed due to technical issues with the SABC’s equipment.

Also in that meeting not all parties were present.

On 7 August 2020 a bilateral meeting took place.

Previously it was agreed –  as was confirmed by the SABC in this recording –  that only after the structure was presented to the meeting, questions about the structure may be asked.

The structures by then was already presented to staff, parallel to the S189 process. We raised our concerns about the process, as structures cannot be presented in meetings to which we have not been invited to, and therefore have no idea what was discussed, agreed and presented.

The SABC agreed to follow a different route, which was to present rationale, then structure in the S189 meetings, and then allow for consulting parties to consult members, present (the latest) structures, not the ones sent which has changed, get input and mandate and return to the meeting to further consult. It was the understanding divisional heads would be available to clarify issues to staff, once we get to present and discuss structures with staff. 

Purely from a logical point of view, why would everyone from labour have the same understanding, if this was not what was agreed?

Further recordings will be made available to confirm that structures presented to the S189 meeting on 12 and 16 October 2020 for the first time, differed from those that was presented to staff. The SABC explaining this difference to be that input from staff were taken into account.

The agreement was, as per the previous recording from the same meeting that after presentation of rationale and structure, AND WE HAVE AGREED ON THE STRUCTURE, we will further consult (in that meeting) as to how apply the skills audit in a fair way to redeploy staff, and then furthermore to consult on selection criteria.

We know now,  this further consultation never happened.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


Salaries of staff members of the SABC have been reported based on information obtained from the SABC’s Annual Report.

The average salary of a SABC employee has been calculated across the entire organisation, which included the millions per year taken home by executives.

What has been discounted from this mathematical model is the number of years of service of the average employee, which surely must be factored in when doing these kind of calculations. It cannot be that the writers and reporters of the salaries of SABC employees for one moment thought or believed that an employee who just entered a workplace will earn the same as someone being at an organisation for 35 years.

To therefore report that SABC employees earn hundreds of thousands of rands per month without taking factors like years of service, expertise, qualifications and alike into consideration, is simply a repeat of distortion of facts.

The entry level salary for an employee at the SABC is a mere R11 474 per month.  The average salary for the lowest level employee is R11 924,25 per month.

The salary of a gardener on average is R5 375 per month.

An office administrator in the Broadcasting Industry earns R218 000 per annum.

The top respondents for the job title Office Administrator are from the companies Nedbank, Sanlam and FNB.

Reported salaries are highest at FNB where the average pay is R222,828. Other companies that offer high salaries for this role include Silica and Absa, earning around R204,401 and R194,283, respectively. EOH pays the lowest at around R127,992. Sanlam and Discovery Holdings also pay on the lower end of the scale, paying R130,000 and R131,800, respectively.

According to Salary Explorer, in 2017 the average annual salary in South Africa is R337,000 before taxes – or just over R28,000 a month.

The SABC is on record, saying most of its work is being done by people on scale code 401. (Page 66 of its presentation to staff). People on this level are mostly professional broadcasters and highly skilled staff.

The entry level salaries of the most important segment of the workforce, where according to the SABC most of the work are done, are more or less the same as what the average South African earned three years ago.


In an attempt to blame staff for the financial situation the SABC finds itself in, the COO, Ian Plaatjes publicly said, when the Board asked employees to return the 6% increase, staff refused.

According to the SABC’s financial statements, apart from the 16% more the chairperson of the Board took home, the Executives received a 5% increase.

This is how the TCTC (Total Cost to Company) is distributed. Pretty obvious where the problem lies.

It is also pretty obvious what happened to staff levels at the SABC since 2013.

The important question that maybe must be asked is, did the Board also demand from its Executives to return the 5% increase?

If the Board did, we know what the answer was.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


On 7 August 2020, in a bilateral meeting with the SABC, the GE: Human Resources, Dr. Mosia proposed, and we  AGREED that:

  1. There is duty to redeploy staff first, before issuing dismissal letters.
  2. The bilateral forum will collectively develop a proposal (here, which means in the meeting) how to best populate the structure in a fair and equitable manner.

This never happened.

Instead of redeploying staff, they were dismissed.

Instead of collectively developed a proposal as to how to populate the structure and how to redeploy staff, Ian Plaatjes announced on 16 October 2020 he is terminating the consultation process, and will not further consult.

Now, with a strike in progress and a pending urgent court application, with massive reputational damage to the SABC, it was agreed to further consult.

What consequence management will follow?

In the same meeting when unions attempt to discuss the structure, they were stopped by the GE:HR and told to NOT discuss structure in the meeting, but only do so after the structure has been presented.

It is common cause the structure was only presented for the first time on 12 October 2020 and then on the 16th of October, when Plaatjes decided to stop the consultation process.


Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has requested Paliament’s urgent intervention in “a growing crisis at the SABC that appears to be spiralling out of control.”

In a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise  Chief Whip Narend Singh moved for an urgent debate in Parliament to discuss what it called a “SABC Board at odds with itself” and “imminent retrenchments of hundreds of staff”.

The letter, dated 20 November 2020 seen by BEMAWU,  has invoked Rule 130 (1) that deals with urgent matters of national importance.

BEMAWU is calling on all political parties to follow suit.

Save our Public Broadcaster!

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan


The Board’s decision to suspend the S189 process for seven days is aimed at derailing the multi-pronged action in progress and is not a genuine attempt to address the lack of consultation and resistance to laying off workers at the SABC.

The SABC is currently faced with an urgent interdict application in the Labour Court set down for next Friday on the urgent roll and strike action by the CWU, with full tactical support by BEMAWU.

The en-masse dismissal of workers at the SABC is also opposed by political parties, trade union federations and public organisations.

Dismissal letters were issued  this week, terminating the services of more than 400 workers employees by 31 December 2020.

The SABC issued S189 notices on 18 June 2020 after it terminated its S189 process in 2019, saying it will not renew the S189 notices (process).

BEMAWU will however NOT remove its urgent application from the Labour Court roll.

Suspending the S189 process for seven days, but not withdrawing the termination letters means nothing. In fact, it is more prejudicial to employees, as the clock is ticking towards 31 December 2020.

The SABC has issued termination letters after a defective consultation process. Suspending the process for seven days does not cure the defective process and its misplaced rationale.

All termination letters must be withdrawn and the SABC must return to the table to properly and meaningfully consult.

The SABC must first fix what they have identified as wrong before deciding to embark on a S189 process.

The SABC has cited the following reasons for its decision to embark on the S189 process:

1. The SABC not having an adequate online value proposition;
2. Poor sales effectiveness (due to not having am adequate online value proposition;
3. Ineffective commercial product packaging;
4. Old, uncompetitive pricing models;
5. Inadequate technology infrastructure;
6. A lack of requisite skills;
7. Inefficient business processes

In its paragraph 3 of its S189 Notice issued on 18 June 2020, the SABC said “As a result of the reasons outlined above, the SABC is currently contemplating a process of restructuring…”

In its proposed structure, the SABC has INCREASED positions on Scale code 120, that have not been there before, in divisions like Commercial Enterprise.

In other divisions the SABC opted to convert permanent staff to freelancers, and/or outsourcing (S197).

This is an artificial and misleading exercise.

By converting permanent employees to freelancers and outsourcing functions, does not reduce the headcount, and cost. It simply moves it from the permanent staff salary account to a different expense account.

It furthermore deprives employees from benefits they have worked for for their entire lives.

We know the SABC has been exploiting freelance workers for many years. By replacing its permanent staff with freelancers is doing so even more.

Freelancers does not have benefits like leave, sick leave, UIF, Medical Aid and Pension. It means being sick or going on leave is on a no-pay basis.

The S189 process must stop in its entirety.

Facilitator suggested third week in Jan




Johannesburg, Friday, 20 November 2020-The Board of the SABC would like to announce that it will suspend the S189 process for a period of 7 days. This will allow all stakeholders to further engage and explore further options in an effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the SABC.

The SABC is committed to meaningfully engaging with all its stakeholders as it continues to make the Corporation financially sustainable in order to fulfil its public mandate.