Tripartite Alliance Secretariat discusses SABC retrenchments

RewtrenchSABC Twitter@EFF - Tripartite Alliance Secretariat discusses SABC retrenchments

On Tuesday, the Alliance Secretariat comprising representatives from the secretariat of the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu met to reflect on matters of national importance.

Among others, the meeting discussed the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) situation which involves an intransigent agenda to retrench hundreds of workers and transfer a part of the public broadcaster elsewhere under the pretext of Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act.

The intended transfer of a part of the public broadcaster, communicated by the SABC to the unions and workers in a letter dated 11 November 2020, amounts to both outsourcing and privatisation, to the extent that those who control the SABC intend to convey a part of the public broadcaster or its operations to a private profit company.

The Alliance Secretariat expressed solidarity with the workers and vehemently opposed to any weakening of the SABC and its public broadcasting mandate and its subordination to commercial interests.

The meeting reaffirmed the Alliance’s shared stance to protect public broadcasting against exploitation by commercial interests.

Privatisation, as well as outsourcing, has historically been used as an entry point to convey public assets and resources, and the functions of public administration and entities to private corporations to enrich the beneficiaries, the Alliance stated.

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The Alliance Secretariat denounced the intransigence displayed by those driving retrenchments and neoliberal restructuring at the SABC.

“It is our understating that the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni – Abrahams and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, do not support the retrenchments. Globally, technological change is deepening and widening with implications that require innovative governance, management, and diversification, including through the expansion of public broadcasting into new spheres of digital media, communication, and broadly the cyberspace.”

The Alliance Secretariat called upon members of all Alliance formations to actively support the Communications Workers Union as well as trade union unity at the SABC and Cosatu in the fight against retrenchments and in the defence of public broadcasting.

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The meeting agreed on a set of immediate steps to be taken to further engagements on the SABC and other retrenchments in the public sector and the economy at large.

The Alliance Secretariat discussed the dispute affecting agreed-upon wage adjustments for public service workers and its implications for the orderly collective bargaining that the Labour Relations Act was among others adopted to promote, based on the Constitution.

Concerned about the need and urgency for an amicable resolution of the dispute, the Alliance Secretariat resolved to elevate the matter to the next session of the Alliance Political Council for further evaluation and reflection on the way forward.

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