News readers Thembisa Marele and Isabelle de Taisser have been taken off air by the public broadcaster, SABC after they refused to sign new contracts in December which reduced their income by as much as 60 percent. According to The Sunday Independent they are considering taking the broadcaster to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
They have the support of the Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa), according to Enerst Dlamini, the Mwasa acting general secretary. The union has sought a meeting with Solly Mokoetle, the new group chief executive, to raise concerns about the cutbacks in spending by the news department.
"We are concerned about the cutbacks and also the fact that people are being used as scab labour in the news department," he said. It is alleged that acting news head Phil Molefe is using freelancers to read the news for free to give them an opportunity to prove themselves on air.
The budget for the news department has been slashed by R670 million to about R570m.