SACP supports workers’ against jobs bloodbath, denounces measures destined for weakening public broadcasting
12 November 2020
The South African Communist Party (SACP) supports the struggles waged by workers and led by trade unions across our economy, including at the SABC, against retrenchments. Considering the crucial role played by the SABC, for instance, during COVID-19, if allowed to prevail, the retrenchments will have far-reaching implications not only for hundreds of families but also for mass education through public broadcasting. Public broadcasting in all official languages is pivotal in South Africa. It is both a transformation imperative and an essential source of information in the languages of and best understood by the audience, the masses of our people.
The SACP is constantly in contact with the Communications Workers Union. We support the efforts led on behalf of workers by their trade unions and their co-operation at the SABC against retrenchments and in defence of public broadcasting on all fronts provided for in labour law, the constitution, and the other law of the republic. It has come to our attention that workers at the SABC might embark on a blackout in pursuit of the struggle. We call upon the management at the SABC and its governing authority to engage with labour meaningfully in a consensus-seeking process.
Any hollowing out of the SABC through retrenchments and neo-liberal restructuring, leading to its subordination to and exploitation by commercial interests, will especially worst affect poor communities and families. It will also negatively affect our efforts, among others, to win the war against COVID-19.
Independent public broadcasting that reports news accurately and in a balanced manner, covering all sides of the story and all communities, including rural communities and small villages, is also important for free and fair elections. Measures tending towards the weakening of public broadcasting on the eve of local government elections, scheduled to take place in 2021, are a serious cause for concern.
The SABC is also a key source of information not only in South Africa but also in other countries on the African continent. Its capacity is most needed now in the face of COVID-19 and other interrelated crises.
Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, Central Committee Member for Media & Communications, SACP, 12 November 2020