Trade unions at the SABC are gunning for the management of the organisation for spending close to R3-million on catering as at March this year.
Sunday World has seen evidence that shows the broadcaster flagged the R2,7-million on catering as irregular expenditure.
On Friday, SABC’s leadership faced a barrage of questions in a meeting with trade unions Communications Workers Unions (CWU) and Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu).
This was in relation to the organisation’s ongoing process to retrench 600 permanent workers and discontinue the contracts of 1 200 freelancers in a bid to save R700m.
But Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has told the organisation to halt the retrenchment process in order to conclude a skills audit and consult properly with unions.
Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson said they took on the SABC leadership over expenditure on catering.
“We asked them to confirm the amount and asked them several times. They simply avoided the question at first and then promised to revert,” he said.
“We also said if it’s true it’s quite shocking to spend that amount on catering at a time 600 employees stand to lose their jobs,” he said.
CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala told members of his union that it was engaging with the SABC on the rationale for the section 189 to retrench workers. He said it has asked the leadership of the organisation for its corporate plan tabled in Parliament and board fees.
“We also believe that some board members are here to enrich themselves…” he said in a message to CWU members.
“This [catering] is among other [issues] including an alleged retainer of R1-million per annum and a series of unnecessary board meetings for people,” he told Sunday World.
SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the organisation was continuing with the section 189 consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
On the questions raised by the unions, she said: “The SABC engages with the unions through CCMA-facilitated meetings as well as bilateral sessions in which when required to avail any relevant information the SABC does so to enable meaningful discussions.”