Friday, 30 May 2008


The Broadcast, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) calls on the SABC Board to step down with immediate effect.

This Board has brought the SABC’s reputation and name into serious disrepute and is not competent to oversee such an important organization.

Despite the fact that the Board has no less than 3 lawyers on it and that it has access to external legal advice, it has chosen to unlawfully and unprocedurally suspend the Group Chief Executive and by doing so making themselves guilty of fruitless and wasteful expenditure as contemplated by the Public Finance Management Act.

BEMAWU insists that the chairperson of the Board be personally liable in terms of the Public Finance Management Act for the wasted legal cost incurred by the SABC in attempting to defend the unlawful actions of the Board’s Chairperson.

The Board has a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of the organization. Had this fiasco happened in any private company the shareholders would have long ago called a meeting and fired the entire board.

Why does the SABC shareholder turns a blind eye?

Why is there no intervention from the shareholder to fire the entire board who supported the unlawful and unprocedural action of the chairperson?

In terms of SABC Policy an employee may not be suspended without affording that employee the opportunity to respond to the allegations and to afford the employee an opportunity to make submissions to not be suspended.

This did not happen. Why not?

Never in the history of the SABC has any employee been served with a suspension letter outside working hours.

Furthermore, and in terms of the SABC’s Personnel Regulations an employee may only be suspended for serious misconduct such as assault, theft and fraud. This is what Section 12 of the Personnel Regulation states:


Where, prima facie, an employee has inter alia committed an act of serious misconduct such as assault or theft or fraud, the employee may be suspended pending an investigation and / or the holding of a disciplinary hearing. The employee shall be advised that the Corporation is considering suspending the employee pending an investigation or the holding of a disciplinary hearing and the employee shall be given an opportunity to respond to the proposed suspension before a decision is made to suspend such employee. If the employee is suspended, the employee shall be advised of the suspension in writing. Any such suspension shall be on full pay.

If this board cannot get a simple issue like a suspension right, how on earth can they manage multi-billion rand deals? What if they mess up that up as well? The risk is simply to big for the country, the organization and most of all, the employees caught up in the middle of all of this. Employees stand to lose their jobs if we allow an incompetent board to oversee the SABC and make similar irresponsible and irrational decisions having a severe effect on the financial viability of the SABC.

If the board does not observe labour legislation and practice, who else will? Should one not lead by example?

Putting it differently, this board has demonstrated their lack of discretion and financial responsibility by acting unlawfully and unprocedurally on a simple and uncomplicated issue like a suspension which resulted in several hundreds of thousands rands of legal cost. They have furthermore demonstrated their disregard for SABC Policy and procedure.

Wasted money!

Why would they not do it again, with more complicated issues and by doing so put the SABC in severe financial trouble? And we all know what happens when an organization lands in serious financial trouble. They cut costs. They cut heads. And SABC staff will come in the firing line.

Will we ever forget McKinsey in 1997 that left almost half of the SABC staff without jobs?

Many of those people have not been able to find decent jobs again.

There is absolutely no doubt that this board must be replaced by a competent board.

The chairperson of the board and her followers have dealt recklessly with the SABC’s money – public money - and they cannot be trusted to oversee and make decisions that may severely affect the SABC and its employees.

If this board does not resign, let us consider to use our collective power to protect our own jobs. 40% of people in this country are unemployed. Only one (1) irresponsible financial decision of millions of rands can bring the SABC on its knees, and it cannot be undone… When it happens, it will be too late. Prevention is better than cure. We must act now! Let us not allow incompetent leadership. People who have no regard for the reputation of the SABC, the organization we work.

Give us back the pride we should have in our workplace.

An organization that has such incompetent leadership will never prosper, will never cost-effectively meet its social responsibilities in a developing country and will never become the asset that it should be to the people of South Africa, regardless of race, creed or colour.

This board has not bother to meet with organised labour at the SABC for almost 5 months now. Suddenly when the place is in turmoil, they running around to meet with unions.

An organization that has incompetent leadership is doomed, and will become a financial millstone to the Country.

Act today by supporting our demand that the Minister/Government must immediately intervene to have this board replaced by a competent one.

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