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Sanef proposes independent mediation between the strike

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Workers were slow on Friday afternoon in response to job cuts on the public broadcaster. They are demanding that withdrawals to the state unit be abandoned.

FILE: SABC employees are making the milestones outside their offices on November 19, 2020. Public service broadcasters protest in protest against the cuts that could see hundreds losing their jobs. Photo: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza / EWN

JOHANNESBURG – With SABC employees on strike outside public broadcasters’ headquarters in Auckland Park, the South African National Forum of Editors (Sanef) on Friday proposed independent mediation to help resolve a stalemate with management in the news sector.

In a statement, Sanef said he held cordial meetings Thursday and Friday with SABC editors and executives respectively to find a way forward in the current stalemate facing the broadcaster.

Sanef has proposed a mediated process to managers and editors to test and resolve the stalemate, as instability in news sharing on the public broadcaster threatens his ability to give his public mandate extended but unfortunately unfunded, the forum said.

Workers were slow on Friday afternoon in response to job cuts on broadcasters. They are demanding that withdrawals to the state unit be abandoned.

The SABC issued Section 189 announcements to several staff members this week, which caused outrage.

LOOK: Not okay – SABC reporter cries with tears against withdrawals

The SABC board announced Friday morning that the process would be halted for seven days, but workers criticized the move as a public relations exercise.

This will allow all stakeholders to further engage and explore further opportunities in an effort to ensure SABC financial viability, the board said in a statement.

Sanef said he noted the announcement, saying it was clear that neither side was contesting the critical need for SABC to restructure and reduce costs.

A bloated, heavy structure is the unfortunate consequence of years of mismanagement, including overpayment of inflation and irregular growth and bonuses. All parties agree that in order for SABC to be saved, costs should be reduced.

In our meeting with the editors on Thursday, they indicated that they remain committed to restructuring SABC to ensure its sustainability and ability to continue to deliver on its constitutional mandate, Sanef said.

However, the workers are standing firm in their request to SABC to stop the withdrawals.

GALLERY: Defend the public mandate! SABC staff confirm on withdrawals

Workers protesting outside Radio Park joined the unions-affiliated South African Trade Union Congress (Cosatu), including the National Union of Education, Health and Allied Workers (Nehawu).

Earlier, a large group wearing ANC signs joined the workers.

Prominent figures who led the fight against the attractions included SABC reporter and news anchor Chriselda Lewis and African editor Sophie Mokoena.

Meanwhile, a large group of police were closely monitoring the protest.

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