The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board announced last year that it would undergo a retrenchment process in a bid to trim its R2.4 billion annual salary bills of 3167 employees.
The board said the job cuts are necessary to ensure its financial sustainability.
In a notice to staff on Tuesday, the public broadcaster said that it had concluded its section 189 retrenchment process and will transition to a new structure on the 1st of April.
The public broadcaster said 621 permanent employees will leave the organisation.
On Twitter, #SABCRetrenchments started trending on Wednesday as it would be the over 600 workers’ last day as employees of the public broadcaster
“It is the last day of service for more than 600 SABC employees. In a notice to staff the public broadcaster said it had concluded its Section 189 retrenchment process and will transition into a new structure from April 1,” the newsreader read, while stuttering and breaking down.
“I apologise I am not able to finish the link, can I ask the producers to take a break,” she then quickly said, overwhelmed by emotions.
Labour unions say it will compromise the quality of the broadcaster’s content and that the staff that remains will have an increased workload.
Employees who are leaving have lamented the SABC’s handling of the retrenchments.
“There didn’t seem to be any fairness or transparency out of the whole process.
One has given 16 years of their life working for an organisation and I have given everything but it feels like it means nothing.
“I have been part of the SABC service for the past 32 years and it saddens me that we have to leave like this.
“It’s really unfortunate that we as experienced crew of the SABC had to be taken out at a time when they really do need the experience.
“As a result of [these retrenchments] being unexpected, we have not made plans as to what we are doing afterward,” say some of the affected employees.