protests 22.1.2021 08:47 am Total blackout at SABC today as union workers down tools

General views of the SABC building in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on 18 November 2020. Picture: Michel Bega

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) says they are forging ahead with the total blackout at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Friday from 11am to 2pm.

The Citizen reports, according to CWU’s Aubrey Tshabalala the blackout will start with workers downing tools, followed by a go-slow, and then a total blackout.

“We are encouraging our members to support the call for a blackout. Even if they can bring contingency plans we believe that fresh content and news will be affected. If we are essential why a need to dismiss hundreds of essential workers?” said Tshabalala.

This after workers and their representatives made their way to the Union Buildings on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum to the President.

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Tshabalala said that the demands in the memorandum included amongst others calls for an urgent meeting with the President, the dissolution of the SABC board, and for the public broadcaster to be placed under administration.

Tshabalala also said that they want the President to stop the SABC from going ahead with the retrenchment process which will see over 300 workers lose their jobs.

“Today (Friday) no worker should be at work in terms of our programme, we intend to have a blackout from 11am to 2pm but before that and after that it will be a go slow.

“We will then reveal our programme obviously later on Friday for the next days. We want management not to anticipate what will be our next action and of course, we will be waiting to hear how will the government in the form of the head of state respond to our demands and how we will go forward,” said Tshabalala.

SABC’s management yesterday issued a notice that it will be hosting a media briefing on Friday morning to update the nation on the retrenchment process.

This is a developing story. Updates to follow as more information is made available.

Reitumetse Makwea / The Citizen