New communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said it is in government’s interest to make sure that nobody loses their job at the SABC.
“We pride ourselves in being a caring government. We have a responsibility to reduce unemployment. We have a responsibility to grow the economy and everything we do must translate to improving people’s lives,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The minister, together with communications deputy minister Pinky Kekana, on Thursday engaged staff members on their concerns at the SABC studios in Auckland Park.
Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged staff members, who fear losing their jobs through the possibility of retrenchments at the SABC, to be involved in solving the challenges in the organisation.
She said it was unacceptable that the SABC incurred R4.9-billion in irregular expenditure and emphasised the importance of holding people accountable for corruption.
“We want to make a commitment that those who are owing the SABC money must pay. You can help us by giving us a list … so that we know who to talk to,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams. She was referring to government departments who owe the public broadcaster money.
The deputy minister said retrenchments must be the last resort. “From here onward, we want clean governance and it must start with you because if you keep quite, you are part of it. Let’s use the past to learn and become better,” Kekana said.
She said parliament wants the SABC to present a scientific study of the state of affairs at the SABC, which includes details on the cost cutting measures as well as a skills audit.
She said MPs want to help the SABC and want the public broadcaster to inform it on role of the executives and whether the salaries are worth what they are doing.
Kekana said parliament has questioned whether the SABC has money for severance packages as it looks at the possibility of retrenchments.
“The big issue which is before parliament is the recapitalisation… The bailout of the SABC, the guarantee versus bailout (sic),” she said.
Kekana said staff at the SABC were not helping and safeguarding money of the SABC. Irregular expenditure at the SABC stood at R4.9-billion, according to the auditor-general. — SANews