Enough money available to pay SABC staff

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pretoria - Enough money will be available to pay staff as well as bring about stabilisation to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), says interim board chairwoman Irene Charnley.

Addressing the Press Club on Tuesday, Ms Charnley said the SABC would be able to implement a 10 percent wage increment for staff in December this year, if the unions agreed to this after further negotiations.

"Now the offer is 10 percent across the board. We are very confident that we would be in a position to have that (by December)," said Ms Charnley, adding that the 10 percent comprised of the broadcaster's 8.5 percent original offer plus an additional 1.5 percent.

"We will be continuing our meeting with the unions on Wednesday. After the meeting there should be an update," she said.

She further said the interim board is focused on stabilising the SABC. "At the moment we are focused on stabilising the SABC ... so that it is a viable entity. We want to emphasise that we are committed to making the SABC more efficient," she said.

Ms Charnley further added that while the broadcaster was focused on stabilising the corporation, retrenchments as a form of saving money was not on the cards.

"At the moment we are focused on stabilising the SABC. The issue of retrenchments has not been discussed. The cost cutting measures are not related to retrenchments," she said.

The SABC has recently been marred by financial problems, the resignation of its previous board members, protests by both staff and the independent producers relating to the non-payment of fees to them. 

In order to save money at the broadcaster, the board said it had introduced harsh cutting cost measures. Some of the measures included board members using a loan laptop, phone and 3G card as well as traveling economy class when flying for up to six hours.

The board is also intent on ensuring legislation compliance and addressing key operational issues such as the filling of posts.

She further added that the board had not taken a decision on the closure of the broadcaster's bureaux outside of the African continent.

"There has been no closure to date," she said, this despite the announcement by the broadcaster earlier in the year to close its overseas offices.