The SABC has fired 26 members from the department that collects licence fees – effectively bringing it to a stand-still.
According to a report by the City Press, the workers received a notice of their dismissal on Wednesday (2 May) after undergoing what they believed was a legal go-slow.
But SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said that these claims were false, and that the employees had committed an act of misconduct in that they embarked on an ‘unprotected strike action’ which was not in compliance with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act and SABC policies.
“The SABC management followed all the required prescripts in arriving at the pronouncement, based on the submissions presented before the aforesaid disciplinary process. It is also important that we do not engage in any further detail in the public domain as this matter is still in progress internally,” Seapolelo said.
Only a fraction of the staff are now left in the licence division at the broadcaster, impacting on its revenue collection, City Press reported.
Millions not paying
In March it was revealed that less than a third of South Africans currently pay their TV licences, owing over R25.5 billion to the public broadcaster.
By April 2017 the SABC had just over 9 million SABC TV licence holders, however licence fees of just 2.6 million have been paid in full by that time.
This has lead to the financially-distressed broadcaster to look elsewhere for funds – including the proposal of requiring a TV licence when owning a computer or smartphone.