Friday, 26 March 2010

Commission payouts

Dear Sir,

It has come to our attention that our members at Sales and Marketing were short paid on commissions they earned as per the following:

  • January for December - R914 538 over target for December – Payout should have been R3 323, our members only received R3 000 – A short payment of R323.

  • Februarie for Januarie.   R1 434 061 under target for Januarie – Payout should have been R1 988, our members received R1 955.82, a short payment of R32.

  • March for Februarie.  R3 875 488 over target for Februarie – Payout should have been R4 368, our members only received R3 000 – a short payment of R1 368.

We demand that the short payment for this period be rectified within three (3) days of this letter, failing we will proceed with legal action against the SABC.


Hannes du Buisson

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


We are in process of updating and redesigning our web page. We have a discussion forum currently running. Please go and register as it will be a closed forum where we would be able to discuss union issues. Kindly fill in all your details when registering on the forum. We are also asking there for a mandate for salary negotiations and questions around PRMA. As said, its a closed forum and your personal details will be kept confidential. On this forum we will tell you why its important to ind another way of communicating with you and keep you up to date on issues. Our web address is

Friday, 12 March 2010

Let's fix our SABC


Broadly defined, a company’s ethics are the principles and standards that it espouses to guide it in its day-to-day business activities and its relations with internal and external stakeholders in accordance with its established corporate values.

Ethical business conduct provides a strong measure of
organisational integrity that should permeate its culture, motivate its strategy, business goals, policies and activities. The total commitment of the board and senior management is required. A company’s code of ethics should be set out in enough detail to give clear guidance, be accompanied by a training programme and be widely communicated. The board of directors is responsible for defining the company’s code of ethics whilst management has to implement the code within the company.

Examples of ethical values might include trustworthiness, honesty, respect, responsibility and accountability, the pursuit of excellence, law-abiding behaviour and protection of the environment. Althoug
h Codes of Ethics will differ between companies, the following may be considered some key areas in which companies may wish to define parameters of ethical conduct:

  • advertising and marketing practices
  • bribery and dishonesty
  • conflicts of interest, including family and personal relationships, outside employment and financial investments
  • employee and customer privacy
  • employment practices, equality of employment opportunity, non-discrimination, freedom from sexual harassment
  • gifts, entertainment and gratuities
  • insider trading
  • intellectual property and trade secrets
  • political contributions
  • product quality and safety, including consumer protection standards
  • protecting company assets
  • stakeholder relations

Key questions:

  • Has the board of my company adopted a code of ethics?
  • Do I personally aim for high ethical standards in my capacity as a director?
  • Is a high ethical tone set ‘from the top’ (i.e. by the board of directors)?
  • Are the company’s ethical and moral values unequivocally communicated to all its employees and other stakeholders?

Can someone please send me a copy of the SABC’s Code of Ethics?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Union Membership

Just a short reminder to members and prospective members.

In the past BEMAWU took on members already in trouble and we helped them, mostly successfully. It however takes a  lot of our time and resources and particularly it is costly when legal fees need to be paid (BEMAWU members don’t have to pay for lawyers). We therefore took a decision that we will still take on members in trouble, but they will have to pay for any legal costs themselves. Legal cost for one labour matter can easily be R60 000,00.

The past few days we had several employees joining, some which will have to pay their own legal cost.

This is the policy of most unions.

We therefore urge employees to join timeously. You might find yourself without any representation when there is a restructuring or retrenchment process.

In light of the recent suspensions and closing down of News International it may just be the best for you to have a trade union behind you.

To join, mail us at

FW: SABC News International closedown

They not getting it right, again.

------ Forwarded Message
From: "<The President>" , Hannes du Buisson <>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 08:28:33 +0200
To: Keobokile Mosweu <>
Conversation: SABC News International closedown
Subject: SABC News International closedown

The General Manager
Employee Relations

Dear Sir,

We act on behalf of our members at SABC News International.

We refer you to the media reports in respect of the decision by the Board to close down SABC News International, one such report attached hereunder for ease of reference.

Restructuring, in particular of this extend is clearly a Section 189 process. We, as a registered trade union has not been consulted in terms of Section 189. Why not?

We demand that the status quo ante  be restored with immediate effect and a Section 189 process be followed, failing we will bring an urgent application in the Labour Court to enforce same.


Hannes du Buisson

SABC news international makes way for 24hr channel
March 10, 2010

SABC news international operations are going to be scaled down from April 1 to make way for a new 24-hour domestic news channel, the broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement the decision was made by the SA Broadcasting Corporation's board.

"The truncated service will provide the basis for a future 24-hour domestic news channel that will be part of the SABC's digital terrestrial television multiplex."

He said the broadcaster's news international, which started in 2007, had faced considerable challenges and the lack of viable distribution points meant full-scale operations were no longer profitable. - Sapa

------ End of Forwarded Message

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

How to dismiss ex employees

Hereunder a story we picked up from the Sowetan.

It is trite law that you can only institute disciplinary action against your employees, and NOT ex-employees. As much as we would have liked him to be disciplined for the serious allegations against him, Mbebe cannot now be disciplined. How do you dismiss an employee not in your service?  Any continuation of disciplinary action and defending an urgent application would be gross fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The SABC must press criminal charges against him, should there be grounds for same, and also civil action to recover any fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Who from HR\Employee Relations has advised the SABC?

Mvuzo Mbebe to fight back
THE SABC will continue with the disciplinary action against its former head of content Mvuzo Mbebe although he has since left the public broadcaster.
Mbebe’s five-year contract ended on Sunday, but the SABC says the disciplinary action will continue.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said yesterday: “His contract has expired and was not renewed, but there is still disciplinary action against him.”
Mbebe and three other executives were suspended by the interim board in October last year pending an outcome of internal disciplinary processes arising from investigations conducted by the auditor-general and other parties.
He was suspended together with chief financial officer Robin Nicholson, head of audience services Anton Heunis and head of group procurement Mabela Sathekge.
But Mbebe’s lawyer Siyabonga Mpontshana said yesterday they would challenge in court the SABC’s decision to continue with the disciplinary action against him.
“I have been representing him during the disciplinary action. The SABC is responsible for the delays.”
Mpontshana said they would launch an urgent application in court to stop the disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, Mbebe said he was taking a short break between jobs.
He said he was currently volunteering in a number of projects, including sports, to keep himself busy.
Mbebe is also former CEO of the National Sports Council.

PRMA Update

BEMAWU has been criticized by the SABC and its lawyers for communicating the issues around the PRMA to you, our members.

We will meet with the SABC tomorrow at 11:00 to discuss our proposed amendment to the settlement agreement. If we fail to agree, we will apply for an expedited date at the High Court to hear the matter.

Monday, 08 March 2010


BEMAWU did not settle with the SABC on the PRMA case and we will possibly go to court on a future date.

The agreement, as signed between the pensioners and the SABC, is a minefield and the SABC has refused to amend the agreement to clarify vital points. The agreement states that the SABC admit the contractual right of its employee’s to receive PRMA contributions from the SABC. With this we do not have a problem, as this is exactly what our case is based on.

It then went further to state that employees are entitled to PRMA benefits for as long as they qualify. They qualify only because of their membership of the SABC’s medical aid scheme. If they are no longer members of the SABC Medical Aid scheme, members do not qualify for PRMA benefits.

Remember, the PRMA is not part of the SABC Medical Scheme, but a separate term and condition of employment (like the medical aid.)

The agreement further states that the SABC will only consult the plaintiffs (which has been defined as the pensioners only) about an alternative medical aid scheme with broadly the same (medical aid) benefits. Should the pensioners not be satisfied with the alternative scheme, they could go on expedited arbitration.

Our problem is this – PRMA and Medical Aid are two separate issues. PRMA is not part of the medical aid scheme. The danger the pensioners are now faced with, is that when they are put on a new medical scheme (they have already agreed to a new scheme) they will loose their PRMA benefit. In terms of the rules of the PRMA Scheme and in terms of the agreement signed by their lawyers.

We want the agreement to be amended to secure PRMA benefits even if we accept a new medical scheme (which must be by agreement between the parties). The SABC’s first reaction was that they do not agree to such an amendment. Why not? If the spirit of the agreement did not mean members will loose that benefit, why not putting it in the agreement?

We also want assurance that the SABC will not simply consult us on a new medical scheme. It is a term and condition of employment and it must be negotiated.

Our medical scheme is by far superior to any open scheme and we should never let go of our scheme. Our scheme does not have directors and shareholders and CEO’s which must be paid dividends, bonuses and salaries.  Apart from administration fees, the rest of the money is used for the benefit of our members. Our scheme has shown in the past they are willing to pay for new technology and treatment which may save a member’s life. Other, open schemes has refused to pay. You, or your family may suffer from cancer, and some new treatment could be available but not on the approved list of an open medical scheme and you will not be able to benefit from that. With our current scheme its different.

We are still in discussions with the SABC and the matter could still settle before we go to court. We will in the meantime apply for an expedited date.

Friday, 05 March 2010


BEMAWU would like to place in perspective the media statement issued by the SABC attached hereunder by responding as follows.

We have received information from at least 3 reliable source that a Board Member will be seconded to head the Sales and Marketing division of the SABC. As this would be unethical we raised the issue in a discussion forum of the SOS Campaign without mentioning any name, but used the term “board member”. At least one individual member of the forum with close association with the SABC responded by referring to the person as “she”.  We never mentioned whether it was a he or a she. This confirmed that our sources had the correct information, as it was communicated to us it would indeed be a female board member. So four separate, independent sources confirmed this.

The unfounded attack by the Board on BEMAWU and its attempt to discredit us is noted with concern. This will however not stop us from reporting to the various interest groups our concerns, and we will continue to monitor our public broadcaster to ensure good corporate governance and compliance. At least we have succeeded to change the mind of the board to second a board member to the Sales and Marketing division.

What expanded oversight means, will be seen.

Issued by the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union.
Media enquiries : Hannes du Buisson



Johannesburg, 05 March  2010 – As part of the programme of turning around and stabilising the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the corporation’s Board yesterday (4 March 2010) asked one of its members, Ms Clare O’Neil, to provide expanded oversight of the SABC’s sales and marketing activities.

The Board made the request at the recommendation of the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Solly Mokoetle and because of Ms. O’Neil’s specialised knowledge and experience in the field of advertising and related activities.

Ms O’Neil will contribute to strategic and operational planning on SABC revenues and exercise oversight over implementation of the turnaround programme. The Board expects this arrangement to last for several months. She will remain a member of the Board and will not serve directly in the SABC structures.

The Board thanks Ms O’Neil for accepting this increased involvement.

In the light of various inaccurate claims and comments made before the Board addressed the matter, the Board notes that the request to Ms O’Neil and the nature of her increased oversight is in line with the requirements with the SABC’s enabling legislation, the Broadcasting Act; with the Public Finance Management Act; and with various other regulatory and statutory imperatives. The Board believes it would be useful in future if commentators and analysts did not base their assessments on inaccurate rumours, but on facts.

It also notes that the inaccurate reports and comments appear to have originated on a materially inaccurate claim by an official of the Bemawu trade union. It suggests analysts and commentators treat future claims from this source with caution.


Issued By:                    Group Communications on Behalf of the Chairperson of the Board.

Media Enquiries:         Kaizer Kganyago

                                   082 306 8888

Tuesday, 02 March 2010

PRMA Update

The PRMA case in the High Court will stand down until Monday next week to enable the parties to reach a settlement in the matter.

The parties will meet on Thursday the 4th of March to discuss a settlement. Should no settlement be reached the matter will continue on Monday. No evidence will be led and it will only be argued before the judge.

Kindly make sure you are available to respond to any proposal put by the SABC. Please post your view here too.

Monday, 01 March 2010


The SABC applied for a postponement of thep matter over the weekend. We instructed our attorneys to oppose the application. The SABC will be held liable for the cost. The application will be heard this morning.