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SABC fails to pay staff on time

The SABC has failed to pay its workers’ salaries on time according to EWN.

Apparently the workers’ contacted EWN in a panic on Tuesday when the money didn’t land in their bank accounts, saying that there was no warning that this would happen.

This follows concerns raised in Parliament by SABC management, who said that they faced a situation where they wouldn’t be able to pay salaries if things didn’t change at the public broadcaster.

However the SABC has claimed that the problem was actually a technical glitch on the bank’s side, saying it paid the salaries as it always does, and they should have reflected in the employees’ bank accounts.

Earlier this month, Fin24 reported that the SABC has not cancelled its retrenchment process, but rather put it on hold.

The SABC’s financial woes haven’t been helped by a recent ruling by the Competition Commission, fining it R31.8 million over collusion with Primedia and Ster-Kinekor to engage in price fixing.

Primedia and Ster-Kinekor only had to pay  R9.6m and R436 999.90 respectively according to IOL.

Meanwhile Sowetan LIVE reports that the SABC’s acting provincial general manager in KZN, Bonga Mpanza, has quit after being implicated in a forensic audit.

“The SABC confirms that Mr Mpanza resigned from the SABC following an internal forensic investigation which found evidence of wrongdoing. Management asserts that Ukhozi FM is stable as there is currently an acting station manager and programme manager who are managing the day-to-day operations of Ukhozi FM,” SABC spokesman Neo Momodu told Sowetan LIVE.

My Take

If it was a technical glitch at the banks, then it should effect more than the SABC, and I’m not seeing any other big reports of such a glitch.

So here is what I think is actually going on at the SABC.

The SABC is out of money. Its cash flow is at the point where at the end of every month it is scrambling to pay its staff, and this month it didn’t quite make it on time, so people got paid late.

We’ve known about this for ages, it was in September of last year when Herald LIVE reported that the SABC was struggling to pay its staff.

Unfortunately its plan to engage in what are clearly necessary retrenchments was halted by Parliament which demanded that the SABC perform a skills audit first.

What is worse is that the SABC’s management is bad in more than one way.

For example, sexual harassment was so rife that one of the complainants told an independent inquiry into it that ““The SABC is like a brothel that is run by prostitutes,” according to the Sunday World last year.

The inquiry found that no sexual harassers were suspended or charged, employees felt that HR and senior management were in on it, and that if they blew whistle they’d lose their jobs.

Not only this, but HR and most of the senior managers didn’t actually understand human rights statutes, gender relations and power relations between men and women.

In other words, this was happening, and the people in charge of putting a stop to it didn’t know what they were doing.

And now you’ve got a situation where retrenchments are likely, salaries are not being paid on time, and tell me, do you think these guys who do this sort of stuff aren’t taking advantage of the SABC’s scared and vulnerable employees?

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