Angry staff at the cash-strapped SABC are threatening to black out
radio and TV coverage of next month's Fifa Confederations Cup if their
salary demands are not met, writes Siyabonga Mkhwanazi in the Saturday Star.

This would leave millions of South African TV viewers and radio listeners without access to the games.

This weekend the SABC board heads into a meeting to consider the 12,5 percent salary increase demanded by the unions. An official from the Communications Workers Union said the strike would take place, saying the board had turned down their demand of 12,5 percent and offered between six and seven percent.

On Friday board chairperson Khanyi Mkhonza and management met the Communications Workers Union (CWU), Media Workers Association of South Africa and Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) over the dispute.

An insider claimed the unions chased SABC chief financial officer Robin Nicholson from the meeting, blaming him for the financial crisis at the corporation. However, this could not be independently confirmed.

According to the unions the SABC, which is in the red to the tune of nearly R800-million, was supposed to have implemented the 12,5 percent salary increase at the start of the new financial cycle in April, but it reneged on the agreement.

"We have lost patience with them," said a CWU official. "The Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda must put the SABC under administration. Fire the board and management and let's start afresh.

"No agreement, no Confederations Cup, no TV, and complete blackout."

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