By Bongani Tshabalala
BLOEMFONTEIN-Lesedi FM employees are the latest to be served with retrenchment letters as the cash strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) embarks on a new turnaround strategy which could see long serving presenters being chopped.
Some presenters at the station have confirmed receiving letters.
“Yes, we have received those rather unpleasant letters,” said one presenter. After being issued with the letters, employees at the station have been made to reapply for their jobs in line with the new organisational structure.
“At the moment, it’s an unpleasant working environment. People’s livelihoods are at stake and you can imagine the current situation at the station under these circumstances” she added.
Those whose jobs are on the line include veteran broadcasters, Tholoana “Thuli Baby” Moletsane, Thabang Morobane and legendary Thabo Kofa “Mr Cool”. Responding to questions that several staff members at the public broadcaster radio station were handed letters of retrenchment, SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said: “The SABC can confirm transition of the new organisational structure affects all SABC offices across the country. However, this will not affect the corporation’s operations.
“The SABC will not in any way compromise the quality of services provided to all South Africans. It must be noted that the SABC’s newly developed target operating model is designed with the sole purpose of ensuring the long-term sustainability of a resilient and viable public broadcaster so that it continues to deliver comprehensively on its mandate, serving the millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, information and entertainment” said Seapolelo.
“The SABC has several vacant posts on all its platforms, which all affected employees are allowed to reapply for. Also, some employees may take early retirement and voluntary severance packages, which in turn creates additional vacancies for affected employees to consider.
Accordingly, the final number of affected employees would be reduced,” she added.
Lesedi FM station Manager, Mamontha Motaung, wife to legendary veteran broadcaster Thuso “Onketsang” Motaung is said to have taken a voluntary severance package but Seapolelo would not be drawn to confirm this. Under the new changes, the new position of business developer (Station Manager) will see the successful applicant managing Lesedi FM and Tswana radio station which is Motsweding Fm. A source close to Mamontha Motaung said the former station Manager was granted an opportunity to apply but she has opted not to apply again.
“I’m not at liberty to speak about such but yes, she has decided not to apply for the position. She’s not the only one who has not applied for her former position. Many others are yet to re-apply for their former positions too” added the source.
Seapolelo confirmed that the SABC was currently conducting interviews to fill the 170 new vacant positions in the new organisational structure. “At this point, it would be premature to go into the details of the respective new positions until the process has been finalised”she indicated.
“In terms of employment contracts, the SABC is not in position to discuss these with the media, as this is a matter between the SABC and the employee or independent contractor concerned.”
Adding that with the turnaround looking to save money for the struggling public broadcaster should any of the permanent employees be lucky enough to be re-hired, this would be at a lower salary scale compared to their current income scale.