Monday, 16 March 2009

SOS - Save Our SABC


It is very sad that SABC Management has decided to embark on an unjustified mud-slinging campaign to try and discredit BEMAWU, when our only intention was to assist in fixing problems and to inform you, our members of the real situation the SABC is in.

The facts are as follows.

BEMAWU did not issue a statement to its members and external media. We addressed personalised letters to each and every member of BEMAWU to inform them what really is going on in the SABC. Our members - SABC employees - have the right to know about issues threatening their security of employment. No statement was issued to the external media. If we had the intention to release the information officially to the external media, we would have issued a formal media statement. We do not need the SABC’s permission to do that.

Furthermore, we have never put out any statement that is not true and correct.

BEMAWU has no quest for sensationalism and attention as claimed by the SABC. We have not made any false, misleading, derogatory or personal claims. We have proof of each and every statement we have made, and if the SABC continues to insist they are false, we will release the evidence into the public domain to protect our integrity.

This however is false and misleading. Why did the SABC lie about the deficit?

(From The Times)
“Acting chief executive Gab Mampone said yesterday the broadcaster was now “monitoring and stopping unnecessary spending” as part of a wide-ranging turnaround strategy.
He said the fact that the broadcaster was in the red and surviving on overdraft was due to “external factors”, mainly the global economic climate.
At least R400-million of the R784-million in losses was attributed to the loss of advertising revenue from multinational companies, said Mampone.
Expenses for the 2009 financial year were R5.5-billion, up R1.2-billion from the previous year.
The Times reported on Wednesday that the broadcaster was facing a deficit of about R700 million — which SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago repeatedly denies.
Mampone, his managers and several SABC board members, including chairman Kanyi Mkonza, put up a united front as they tried to explain the financial crisis crippling the parastatal.”
In respect of Gemini Consultants, we have never claimed that procurement processes were not followed. We do say the SABC is wasting money by employing these consultants. Management was employed to manage, and management by consultants must stop. We never claimed that we were making new revelations. We are pointing out where the money has gone.

Whether it is a farewell party or a Christmas Party, it is absolutely ridiculous and irresponsible to spend nearly half a million rand on one party whether it has been budgeted for or not. The fact that it has been budgeted for does not make it right and justifiable.

We are astounded that management finds detailing of any individual’s expenses while involved in the carrying out of his/her duties, irresponsible, personal and insulting. If an SABC employee spends SABC money on Johnny Walker Black Whisky whilst we are facing a very serious deficit, to the extent that a court application has been brought to liquidate the SABC it needs to be exposed. Management should thank the union for bringing such matters to their attention, not call us irresponsible. Is this really the message that the SABC wants to send out to employees? If you know of wastage of money, don’t report it, because you will be accused of being irresponsible, personal and insulting? Is this the view of the Board and the Acting GCEO?

There appears to be something seriously wrong with the mindset of the SABC and it confirms why we are in such a financial mess.

The SABC says: “It is not clear why Mr. Naicker is being singled out for receiving training, while all other employees, including Bemawu and other union members also receive training from time to time.”

We are not singling out Mr. Naicker. Mr. Naicker has not applied via the SABC’s Bursary Scheme for a bursary to study an MBA. In any event it is highly irresponsible to spent money on a person’s MBA when in the midst of a very serious financial crisis. Surely all employees can then now apply and the SABC will pay for their MBA studies or is this reserved for a few privileged individuals?

The SABC says: “It is not true that Group Executives received the salary increases as stated in the memo. The figures were once again lifted from the Annual Report, without a proper breakdown being done to understand them.”

Does that mean the figures in the Annual Report are not correct? Then we should report this to the Auditor General. A primary school child with a calculator can do the calculations of the figures lifted from the Annual Report. The percentage increases (whether salary or salary and benefits and whether it has been breaked down or not) are 100% correct and verified by our auditors.

The SABC says: “The stated figures include a basic salary, allowances, bonuses, employer’s contribution to pension fund, medical aid and other.”

It does not matter how you look at it, there has been an increase by the percentage stated in our previous letter.

The SABC says: “It is not only unrealistic but unthinkable that any Group Executive can get such high salary increases in a year.”

We agree it is unrealistic and unthinkable. It is in the Annual Report and we believe it is highly irresponsible on top of being unrealistic and unthinkable. And there is absolutely nothing false and misleading about this, unless the Audited Annual Report is false and misleading. We want to know who is going to take responsibility for these exorbitant increases and wastage of money?

We want the wastage to stop and we want competent and responsible management at the SABC, management that will not risk the employment of our members. We have enquired about more matters of concern. We await the SABC’s answers.

We have a good relationship with most of the SABC’s management, and we intend to keep it like that. We believe they are as concerned as we are about the current financial and governance situation the SABC finds itself in.

What more evidence does Government need before they act to put a responsible and proper Board in place? In any private organisation a Board in a similar financial situation would have been investigated and removed with immediate effect.

The Board must go!
Any manager wasting SABC money must go!

It appears as if the SABC wants to stop us from communicating with you. If you know about any other wastage, please let us know. We have to plug the holes to stop the outflow of money from the SABC (that is off course if there is anything left).

Let’s act now to save the workers from retrenchments!

Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU)
16 March 2009

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