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SABC will no longer lay off a third of its employees1 minute read

As a result of corruption and maladministration scandals, parliament has dissolved SABC’s board several times in recent years.

Kathleen Ndongmo

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The SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) headquarters in Johannesburg. - AFP

South Africa’s cash-strapped public broadcaster on Thursday announced it would drop plans to lay off a third of its full-time employees as it looks for other savings to cut mounting debts.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said the decision to not lay off staff was in the “interest of the SABC, its employees, key stakeholders and the South African public at large.”

The SABC’s financial troubles deepened during the tenure of its former chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, an ally of ex-president Jacob Zuma.

As a result of corruption and maladministration scandals, parliament has dissolved SABC’s board several times in recent years.

The company in November approached the labour arbitration agency to retrench 981 of its 3,370 staffers.

Another 1,200 of its 2,400 freelancers were also earmarked for dismissal.

“They are withdrawing the retrenchment plan,” Aubrey Tshabalala, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), told AFP.

SABC said an “skills audit” would be held to assess labour needs.

The country’s auditor-general Kimi Makwetu last year said the broadcaster, which has in recent years relied on government loans for its survival, was commercially insolvent.

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Business rescue team rule out mid-June return for SAA flights

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South African Airways business rescue practitioners have rejected an “unvetted” statement released by the state-owned airline indicating plans to resume domestic flights from mid-June.

The national carrier had on Tuesday, announced that its planes will be back in the skies between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the business rescue administrators, say the airline had breached communications protocol by issuing a statement which “created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers, as well as employees who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations, compounding its financial distress.”

SAA’s media statement had gone out without the approval of the practitioners as demanded by the business rescue procedure.

With the government of South Africa announcing that the country will enter into lockdown alert level 3 from June 1, domestic air travel will be permitted but only for business purposes.

The business rescue practitioners said SAA planes will remain grounded until a better understanding of what the level 3 regulations entail.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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