Chriselda Lewis found herself trending on Tuesday evening well into Wednesday morning after a video of her stirring speech reached the masses on social media. In the video, Chriselda could be heard defending retrenched SABC staffers.
SABC news anchor and host of Prime Time News, Chriselda Lewis became a national hero on Tuesday as she stood up for injustice within her own camp. As dozens of SABC employees faced retrenchment, many of whom had served the national broadcaster for years, it was the work of Chriselda and her fellow broadcasters that helped save their jobs at the last second. The esteemed senior reporter reserved her place in the history books with a rousing speech that may have made the most impact.
Why were staffers retrenched?
Things haven’t been looking good for the public broadcaster for some time. News of the SABC making a loss due to poor revenue, high expenses and unpaid TV licenses seems to do the rounds every other day and it was only a matter of time before more drastic measures would be taken. However, when SABC News attempted to retrench over 400 employees it appeared to be a step too far and that is when the broadcast team took it upon themselves to save the day.
First, Chriselda and her fellow anchors vowed that they would not take to the airwaves until the situation was remedied. It was at this point that Phathiswa Magopeni had to hold an emergency meeting to allow employees to share their views, following the drastic measures that were about to be taken.
During this meeting, multiple employees shared their views on the retrenchments but none more eloquently and passionately than Chriselda Lewis whose words reverberated across the country. In no uncertain terms, she told her superior “Go back, do what you’re supposed to do. We grew up with these people. Pat, when you came here it’s not what we expected from you. We can’t sleep, it’s headed towards Christmas, we can’t breathe Take your structure, go with it, give us something that makes sense”
Watch the video below:
— Thabiso Sithole (@ThabisoSithole) November 17, 2020
Hlaudi trends as SABC looks for solutions
In the end, the retrenchments had to be withdrawn and the 400 odd staff members look set to keep their jobs for the foreseeable future but this does nothing to ease the SABC’s woes. As the quest for solutions goes on, many on social media became nostalgic as the thought back to the days when Hlaudi Motsoeneng presided over the national broadcaster.
While his tenure was marred by accusations of corruption, this week many recalled that he had not retrenched staff members to the extent of his successors. In fact, some argued that things might even have been better under him – even if he only held a Matric qualification.
FACT: Let the records show that under Matric less Hlaudi, there were NEVER retrenchment @SABC and Public didn’t get to be exposed to internal fruts of workers with looming job losses and sleepless nights! There was never threat of Blackout! pic.twitter.com/RwDnSAzZZ7
— Jon Modise (@johnmodise) November 18, 2020
One person who believed he had found a solution is the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
He believes the key to saving the SABC lies in their partnership with DSTV, along with the TV license fees they desperately need to recoup from all customers across the country. He wrote, “To save SABC; Multi-Choice must be forced to compensate all the SABC channels on its platforms, which they‘v been illegally carrying for free for over 10 years. TV License must be mandatorily integrated in DStv subscriptions! And SABC must be allowed to play into DTH space!”
Do you believe these solutions could save the SABC?
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