Ongoing strike disrupts SABC programmes


Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said that its regular programmes were interrupted at three radio stations on Thursday due to the ongoing strike.

“Out of the 19 SABC radio stations, only three were affected, namely: Thobela FM, Munghana Lonene FM and Ikwekwezi FM.  Their respective current affairs shows that did not go on air, as a result of presenters pulling out of the shows at the last minute,” SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.

Employees affiliated to Broadcasting, Electronic, Media& Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) and Communications Workers Union (CWU) are demanding a 10%, while the SABC is offering a 4,5 increase. Scores of SABC employees took to the streets of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Durban on Thursday over wage increase.

CWU is demanding that the increase be backdated to April.

The industrial action came after wage discussions two unions and the public broadcaster deadlocked on Monday this week.

With the SABC in a perilous financial position, the broadcaster said that it could not afford a 10% increase.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been called in to mediate over the dispute.

The meeting between the parties and CCMA was set for Friday morning.

CWU’S General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said: “The board proposed that we meet at CCM in terms of section 150. By law, CCMA they can be able to mediate. All the parties welcome that mediation. A series of programmes were affected. If you watched Morning Live on SABC 2, there were massive technical errors. There were about six radio stations that were affected, some played music for hours.”

Workers said that the broadcaster should not blame them for the SABC’s poor finances.

There are fears that the industrial action will affect the coverage of the upcoming ANC elective conference which starts on Saturday in Johannesburg.

Kganyago said that the broadcaster was still waiting for a R3b government guarantee from the national Treasure. He said that the SABC was still owing several companies including SENTECH.