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RAGANI ACHARY DIED

RAGANI Achary, head of news; former head of input and head of assignments at @eNCA (@DStv 403); and former senior copy editor at the SABC’s @SABCNews (DStv 404), has died from Covid-19.

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SANDF DEPLOYED AT SABC | BEMAWU

SABC has confirmed that members of SA National Defence Force have been deployed at its offices in Auckand Park, Johannesburg and in Durban. Group Executive of Corporate Affairs and Marketing Gugu Ntuli, says the move was made to protect the public broadcaster’s premises and staff

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SABC AGREES TO REMOVE SPY CLAUSE | BEMAWU

The SABC agreed to remove the controversial “spy” clause from all contracts of employment of SABC employees.

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) wrote to the SABC after members, in particular journalists, brought to the Union’s attention the clause in contracts employees were required to sign.

This is not the first time BEMAWU raised this issue with the SABC.

During the tenure of the previous Board this issue was also raised and challenged.

The previous Board, after pressure from various groups, agreed to remove the clause, but only from the contracts of journalists.

BEMAWU insisted to have it removed from all employee’s contracts.

The clause seeks to get employees to agree to the SABC intercepting all communications of all employees without following the prescripts of relevant legislation to intercept communication.

In terms of legislation, any party that wants to intercept the communication of another party can only do so if the other party agree to the interception, or where a dedicated appointed judge grant such permission.

In the SABC’s instance, an employment contract was offered, with the interception clause part of the contract. We presume it would have followed if employees refused to agree to the interception clause , they would have been without jobs.

This would have in essence meant a number of highly qualified SABC employees (and future employees) would have been on the street, unemployed simply because they have refused to have their communications intercepted.

After a meeting with SABC management, a statement was issued by the SABC to all SABC staff. The statement reads as folllows:

05 AUGUST 2021
NOTICE

TO: ALL SABC EMPLOYEES

DATE: THURSDAY, 05 AUGUST 2021

SUBJECT: IMPORTANT NOTICE

Dear Colleagues,

The SABC has noted concerns raised by various stakeholders regarding a 2008 clause in the SABC employment contracts dealing with the Corporation’s right to intercept, monitor and read any communications of employees.

While this is a standard clause that has been included in all employment contracts since 2008, it is not intended to violate the rights of journalists or their sources of information. Journalists and their sources of information are adequately protected by the SABC’s Editorial Policies of 2020.

However, the SABC appreciates how this clause may be misunderstood and has therefore decided to remove it from all employment contracts with immediate effect. This will be effective for all new contracts and will be retrospectively implemented as well.

For the avoidance of doubt, the clause will not be applicable for all contracts, existing and new.

Sincerely,
Dr Mojaki Mosia

We welcome the very positive and progressive step by the SABC.

As we have explained to the SABC in yesterday’s meeting, an employee has a constitutional right to not have his of her communication intercepted. The SABC does nothing have a constitutional right to intercept communications.

We also explained to the SABC that they have the right to approach the judge appointed to deal with interception matters to obtain an order to intercept communications, should there be a legal reason to do so.

Interception will then happen in terms of a judicial and fair procedure, and not at the whim of every other (not legally qualified) manager of the SABC.

Privacy and the protection of private information is sacred.

The protection of sources of journalists are more sacred, and a fundamental ingredient of our democracy. Without that protection it would simply not possible to expose for instance corruption, one of the cancers of society and rife in South Africa.

Many sources risk their lives and that of their families when they come to the fore to expose murder, conspiracies, corruption and alike.

Knowing that communications of journalists may be intercepted at any time would have simply stopped them from reporting it to SABC Jounalist.

It follows that the SABC would have been at a massive disadvantage in terms of complying with its public mandate and furthermore in terms of being competitive in bringing news and information about very serious issues threatening our democracy.

By not being trusted by sources and the SABC not carrying those stories could easily be interpreted as the SABC being biased and not exposing such serious issues.

Additionally, it would have had seriously impacted on the performance and credibility of employees so employed.

We commend the SABC for seeing the light and doing what is right. To quote the SABC’s former slogan used to persuade the public to pay their TV licences….

It’s the right thing to do!

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SABC HUMAN RESOURCES A TOTAL MESS

The S189 process at the SABC is a mess. A BIG mess. A mess mainly caused by its Human Resources Department.

In what appears to be a race against nothing in particular, the SABC is steamrolling ahead on a collision course.

The notice period for employees have already been postponed with a month, as it was abundantly clear the SABC would not meet its self-set deadline of February 2021.

BEMAWU has warned the SABC on several occasions that it would not be able to implement the new (disputed) structure in the time envisaged by the SABC.

The majority of posts were not advertised by the end of January, and the SABC Human Resources Department was not remotely ready to implement the new structure.

Job evaluations were not done and even as late as the last week of February employees received letters changing their status from so-called surplus to redundant.

This off course is patently unfair.

Employees who received surplus letters were strictly (according to HR of the SABC) only allowed to compete for their own position. If unsuccessful, only then for other advertised positions.

This did not happen.

At the end of February 2021 more than 80 positions that appear on the new structure were not advertised.

This simply means more than 80 employees would be without jobs who could have been placed in vacant positions had the Human Resources Department been doing it’s job.

It is estimated that more than 570 staff would have left the SABC by the end of March 2021. This is 30 short of the threatened 600 and almost 300 more than the target. This excludes the more than 80 positions not advertised.

Positions are now advertised inviting everyone to apply, whilst a number of redundant (and so-called surplus) workers have not been placed.

By opening vacant positions for everyone to apply, employees who are not redundant could possibly be appointed in vacant positions in which redundant employees could have been placed. This is in direct contradiction with S189 that place a duty and obligation on the employer to first accommodate its redundant employees.

In sheer desperation (and obviously unfairly) the SABC has advertised positions on Saturday via email with the deadline to apply set for 3 March 2021. This is three (3) working days only. A clear breach of SABC Policy committed by the same management who dragged employees to court alleging previous management breached recruitment policy.

This simply means for employees not placed in those positions, notice must be April 2021. It also means the new structure will not be implemented by 1 March 2021.

It will be impossible to shortlist, put together a panel and interview all applicants in the short space of time.

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S189 | HOW THE FACILITATOR WANTED TO WITHDRAW

An Independant Labour expert and facilitator advised the SABC to extend the consultation process until the third week of January 2021 to make it fair.

Adv Joe Campanella, appointed by the SABC to facilitate the extended 30 days threatened to withdraw from the process and wave his fees for the day, when management refused.

Mosia Mojaki told the facilitator he is not going to get the answer to an extention, as this is not how governance structures work.


On 21 December 2020 the facilitator suggested that the process must be extended till the 3rd week of January 2021 due to the time of the year and the fact that employees would not be available to give final input in the process.

During the 30 days extended consultation the SABC confirmed parties have not consulted on the alternatives in the previous round of consultations.

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SABC FREELANCE EXPENSES INCREASE

The SABC has confirmed it freelance expenses have increased at a time when hundreds of SABC employees stand to loose their jobs.

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SABC SAYS NO TO R1m PER MONTH

Imatlafatse is a current affairs programme on Lesedi FM.

It broadcasts from 12:05 to 12:30 on weekdays only, a mere 25 minutes per day.

Imatlafatse generates on average R1m per month.

According to the SABC’s planned restructuring, however this is not good enough.

If restructuring plans go ahead, Imatlafatse will disappear in the new year and so will R1m per month for only 25 minutes.

ECONOMICS 101 LESSON

25 minutes = R1m

50 minutes = R2m

0 minutes = R0

SAVE IMATLAFATSE, SAVE THE PUBLIC BROADCASTER

.

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HOW UNIONS WERE STOPPED BY SABC TO DISCUSS STRUCTURE

When the 2020 consultation process in terms of S189 started, the first facilitated meeting under the auspices of the CCMA could not proceed due to technical issues with the SABC’s equipment.

Also in that meeting not all parties were present.

On 7 August 2020 a bilateral meeting took place.

Previously it was agreed –  as was confirmed by the SABC in this recording –  that only after the structure was presented to the meeting, questions about the structure may be asked.

The structures by then was already presented to staff, parallel to the S189 process. We raised our concerns about the process, as structures cannot be presented in meetings to which we have not been invited to, and therefore have no idea what was discussed, agreed and presented.

The SABC agreed to follow a different route, which was to present rationale, then structure in the S189 meetings, and then allow for consulting parties to consult members, present (the latest) structures, not the ones sent which has changed, get input and mandate and return to the meeting to further consult. It was the understanding divisional heads would be available to clarify issues to staff, once we get to present and discuss structures with staff. 

Purely from a logical point of view, why would everyone from labour have the same understanding, if this was not what was agreed?

Further recordings will be made available to confirm that structures presented to the S189 meeting on 12 and 16 October 2020 for the first time, differed from those that was presented to staff. The SABC explaining this difference to be that input from staff were taken into account.

The agreement was, as per the previous recording from the same meeting that after presentation of rationale and structure, AND WE HAVE AGREED ON THE STRUCTURE, we will further consult (in that meeting) as to how apply the skills audit in a fair way to redeploy staff, and then furthermore to consult on selection criteria.

We know now,  this further consultation never happened.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT SABC SALARIES

Salaries of staff members of the SABC have been reported based on information obtained from the SABC’s Annual Report.

The average salary of a SABC employee has been calculated across the entire organisation, which included the millions per year taken home by executives.

What has been discounted from this mathematical model is the number of years of service of the average employee, which surely must be factored in when doing these kind of calculations. It cannot be that the writers and reporters of the salaries of SABC employees for one moment thought or believed that an employee who just entered a workplace will earn the same as someone being at an organisation for 35 years.

To therefore report that SABC employees earn hundreds of thousands of rands per month without taking factors like years of service, expertise, qualifications and alike into consideration, is simply a repeat of distortion of facts.

The entry level salary for an employee at the SABC is a mere R11 474 per month.  The average salary for the lowest level employee is R11 924,25 per month.

The salary of a gardener on average is R5 375 per month.

An office administrator in the Broadcasting Industry earns R218 000 per annum.

The top respondents for the job title Office Administrator are from the companies Nedbank, Sanlam and FNB.

Reported salaries are highest at FNB where the average pay is R222,828. Other companies that offer high salaries for this role include Silica and Absa, earning around R204,401 and R194,283, respectively. EOH pays the lowest at around R127,992. Sanlam and Discovery Holdings also pay on the lower end of the scale, paying R130,000 and R131,800, respectively.

According to Salary Explorer, in 2017 the average annual salary in South Africa is R337,000 before taxes – or just over R28,000 a month.

The SABC is on record, saying most of its work is being done by people on scale code 401. (Page 66 of its presentation to staff). People on this level are mostly professional broadcasters and highly skilled staff.

The entry level salaries of the most important segment of the workforce, where according to the SABC most of the work are done, are more or less the same as what the average South African earned three years ago.

BEMAWU

In an attempt to blame staff for the financial situation the SABC finds itself in, the COO, Ian Plaatjes publicly said, when the Board asked employees to return the 6% increase, staff refused.

According to the SABC’s financial statements, apart from the 16% more the chairperson of the Board took home, the Executives received a 5% increase.

This is how the TCTC (Total Cost to Company) is distributed. Pretty obvious where the problem lies.

It is also pretty obvious what happened to staff levels at the SABC since 2013.

The important question that maybe must be asked is, did the Board also demand from its Executives to return the 5% increase?

If the Board did, we know what the answer was.

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S189 | HOW THE SABC RENEGED ON PROCESS AND AGREEMENT

On 7 August 2020, in a bilateral meeting with the SABC, the GE: Human Resources, Dr. Mosia proposed, and we  AGREED that:

  1. There is duty to redeploy staff first, before issuing dismissal letters.
  2. The bilateral forum will collectively develop a proposal (here, which means in the meeting) how to best populate the structure in a fair and equitable manner.

This never happened.

Instead of redeploying staff, they were dismissed.

Instead of collectively developed a proposal as to how to populate the structure and how to redeploy staff, Ian Plaatjes announced on 16 October 2020 he is terminating the consultation process, and will not further consult.

Now, with a strike in progress and a pending urgent court application, with massive reputational damage to the SABC, it was agreed to further consult.

What consequence management will follow?

In the same meeting when unions attempt to discuss the structure, they were stopped by the GE:HR and told to NOT discuss structure in the meeting, but only do so after the structure has been presented.

It is common cause the structure was only presented for the first time on 12 October 2020 and then on the 16th of October, when Plaatjes decided to stop the consultation process.