SABC staff threatened after protest against retrenchments – Phumzile van Damme

DA MP says it was within employees' rights to protest peacefully during their lunchtime

SABC staff threatened with disciplinary action for engaging in peaceful lunchtime protest against retrenchments

8 November 2018

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has seen a letter sent by SABC management indicating that disciplinary action will be taken against staff protesting peacefully during their lunchtime against retrenchments.

In the letter written by the SABC’s Group Executive of HR, Jonathan Thekiso, the SABC indicates:

The SABC wishes to reiterate that the planned ‘total shutdown and or so-called peaceful demonstration’ during lunchtime on Friday, 09 November 2018 is not in compliance with legislation…and employees participating in such action will be subjected to disciplinary action.”

It is not the SABC’s business what its staff do during their lunchtime, and it is well within their rights to engage in protest.

We have been informed by staff that no ‘total shutdown’ is planned, and it was a falsehood spread by the SABC that one was planned.

The SABC’s response to the protest is indicative of an authoritarian creep in an SABC that is bungling its retrenchment process.

We maintain that a full-scale skill and salary audit should have been conducted to prevent arbitrary job losses at the public broadcaster.

The board and management are due to appear before the Communications Committee next week Tuesday and the DA will not hesitate to take on the SABC for its insensitive, arrogant and poor management of its retrenchment process.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 8 November 2018