The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Students Public Relations Association (SPRA) has announced that its members would march to the South African Broadcasting Services (SABC) headquarters on Friday, 20 November, to support employees who face the prospect of being retrenched.
This follows Cosatu, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), who have also voiced their support for the SABC employees.
The disgruntled employees have been airing their grievances after the SABC confirmed that the retrenchment process were continuing as planned, reversing their decision of temporary withdrawal of redundancy retrenchment notices.
Even Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has implored the public broadcaster’s board to “consider all options”, and to prioritise preserving jobs instead of going ahead with the process.
The SPRA chairperson Siyabonga Twala said on Thursday that they would embark on a picket demonstration outside the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters to show support and to try to prevent loss of jobs in the communications sector.
“Furthermore, this to us as communications students goes way past what is happening in the now, but extends to the future as we are aspiring to find employment within the sector post-graduation,” he said.
Twala further said that the SABC retrenchment was concerning for graduates who were seeking employment in the industry.
“Us witnessing the unfortunate events happening within the sector brings huge discouragement and fear for the future. It questions our chances of employment or rather lacks thereof post-graduation.
“We, like every other student in university, want a fair chance at finding employment in careers we will be qualified in, but current events are proving otherwise.
Twala noted that the SPRA was “solely demonstrating in the interest of students in communication” and distanced itself from “any opportunistic and individualistic political campaigns”.
“However, all individuals are welcome to join us in this stand given that they too are demonstrating for the same reasons stated above. We are stronger together,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cosatu said it believed in a stable and self-sustaining public broadcaster but that retrenching workers was not the solution.
“These retrenchments are not just going to destroy workers lives and those of their families, but they are going to weaken what is a very vital institution of our democracy.
“These workers are being scapegoated by the managers and decision-makers, who are responsible for this mess.
The federation called on the ANC government to intervene in the matter.
“Fixing the problems of the current crisis should not be done at the expense of workers through the intensification of exploitation, retrenchments, and the privatisation of public enterprises.
“The real cause of this crisis is the pandemic of corruption and wasteful expenditure that is yet to be properly addressed at the SABC.”