SABC says it hasn’t run out of money – following claims it failed to pay severance packages

The South African Broadcasting Corporation has come under fire for allegedly failing to pay former employees their severance packages on time, the City Press reports.

Former employees and union representatives told the paper that the severance packages were set to be paid earlier this year, with the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) now planning to take the matter to the CCMA.

The SABC said that the payment of retrenchment packages is ongoing, but most employees have already been paid.

“The SABC can confirm that it has paid the salaries of its employees. The process of paying severance packages has begun and is anticipated to be concluded shortly with the majority of the payments having already taken place,” it said in a statement on Saturday (1 May).

“The SABC would like to categorically refute the allegation that it is not able to pay the salaries of its employees. The corporation has a comprehensive and established cash management process in place that is aligned with best practice.

The national broadcaster said it is able to meet all its obligations when due and has “in fact embarked on an infrastructure renewal programme, as well as significant investment in fresh and compelling content”.

“The corporation has further managed to recover ground lost as a result of the pandemic and the state of disaster, and revenue generation is back at levels of a year ago, and showing strong growth, supported by the majority of our platforms that are meeting and exceeding financial targets.”

Over 600 SABC employees were retrenched at the end of March as part of the national broadcasters turnaround plan. The Section 189 retrenchment process first began in June 2020 and spanned over 9 months before being finalised.

275 of these employees had their positions made redundant, while a further 346 opted for voluntary severance packages.

“Some were concerned about the impact of lower job scale codes resulting from the organisation-wide job evaluation process, on current salaries and their pension,” the SABC said. “These colleagues took voluntary severance packages as a first option and chose not to participate in any alternative job-seeking processes.”

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SABC says it hasn’t run out of money – following claims it failed to pay severance packages