Thursday, 11 June 2009

Night of the long knives and other short stories

  • Help, the SABC is sinking!
  • A sit-in at the Acting GCEO, Gab's office from 10:00 to 14:00.
  • A vote of no confidence in Group Executive at SMF (Senior Management Forum) by Senior Management.
  • A vote of no confidence in the Board and Group Executive jointly by the three unions.
  • A spontaneous vote of no confidence in the Board and Group Executive and a demand they must all resign with immediate effect on Wednesday by disgruntled staff and union members.
  • A vote of no confidence in the Chief Executive, Dr. Pat Naves and the Acting General Manager of Employee Relations, Andre Weber.
  • A visibly shaken Dr. Naves escorted by SABC Security to her office.
  • There is war out there at the SABC, Minister! Stop turning a blind eye and act.

So where did this soap opera started off?

Not so long ago the acting GCEO, Gab Mampone wrote what he called a thesis for his Doctorate in Philosophy which he named “Help, the SABC is sinking!” This document landed with the Board which later caused the departure of inter alia Mr. Mark Jakins, the Chief Executive of Sales & Marketing of the SABC.

Sales & Marketing is off course where more than 85% of the SABC’s income is generated.

When Jakins left, Mampone took over the engine room of the SABC. So we had Mkhonza as captain in charge of a multi billion rand ship with barely experience to sail an inflatable dinghy and Mampone in the engine room who had never before seen the inside of ship, let alone an engine room.

And they decided to change the name from SABC to Titanic. And it is exactly what it became… a pleasure ship with lots and lots of luxury for the captains and first officers (Board and Group Executives) whilst the crew (staff and senior management) had to work like dogs with not proper or late salary increases and not sharing in all the luxury.

And as we know, history always repeats itself.

Crew who is not properly treated and paid normally revolts, and this is exactly what happened. The officers (senior management) were told they will not get any salary increase this year. Well knowing how lavishly the captain and her team have lived to date, a mutiny broke out. On Tuesday, 9 June 2009 the Senior Management Forum (SMF) met with Group Executive (GE). The SMF is a fancy name for the Top 100 most senior managers at the SABC. At the commencement of the meeting the SMF asked for a caucus without GE present. The SMF then tabled a vote of no confidence in Mampone and Nicholsen, but later changed that to a vote of no confidence in the entire GE.

So out came the long knives.

Meanwhile the crew (staff) were preparing to be addressed by Mampone on 10:00 on Wednesday morning (10 June). Being faced with a vote of no confidence from his own management, Mampone decided to cancel the meeting and requested Group Communications to send an e-mail to all staff late Tuesday night to inform them of his decision.

That made staff really angry, because not once in the salary dispute saga did Mampone once showed his face in a meeting. Not once did he bother to invite the union leadership to his office to try and explain the situation. Not once did he bother to call a meeting with staff to apologise for the situation and explain why salaries have not been implemented.

Disgruntled staff spontaneously decided to go to his office and to demand an explanation from him. At 10:00 approximately 35 staff members, both unionized and not, started with a sit-in outside his office. When he refused to address the staff, they became agitated and demanded that the Board, Mampone and the entire Group Executive must resign with immediate effect.

The sit-in ended at 14:00 after Mampone agreed to meet with union leaders.

On Monday, 15 June we are at the CCMA with the salary dispute. Mampone has indicated they will come with an offer then. Why do we have to wait for the CCMA? Management by litigation?

So how do we get theSABC to not sink further?

Maybe the time has come to file an official dispute of mutual interest to have the Board and Group Executive removed, else all SABC staff (including the Top 100 managers of the SABC) should embark on a protected strike?

Only the SMF and staff can now jointly safe the SABC, or the Minister.

No comments:

Post a Comment