StarTimes South Africa to sack workers

Startimes Media South Africa is laying off staff amid what it termed ‘difficult economic circumstances’.

This will see the company rationalise its operations and related support activities. An internal memo to employees dated September 10, 2015 said tough economic conditions in the broadcasting industry have had an adverse effect on the operation of StarTimes which has resulted in some increased pressure on the financial position of the company.

The notice that was issued by the company Chief Executive Officer Mike Dearham said time had come to take drastic measures after considering various methods to increase revenues and cut costs. It said the board had decided to investigate possible solutions to the predicaments the company is facing.

“Unfortunately, StarTimes cannot carry on indefinitely in this manner and in order to stabilise the financial position of the company, certain measures will have to be taken as soon as possible,” the memo, dated September 10, reads. “Various methods to increase revenue and to cut costs have already been considered ... some positions may be affected.”

Operations of StarTimes East African including Kenya will not be affected. “South Africa operates as an independent entity...therefore this has nothing to do with East Africa and Kenya will not be affected,” said Alex Mwaura of StarTimes Kenya.

StarTimes entered the SA market in 2013 after taking over TopTv, a satellite broadcaster, and embarked on a business rescue plan for the struggling operation. Dearham added that meetings would be held with staff to discuss the ‘predicament the company is facing’ and number of employees who will be affected.

“We regret that such drastic steps may become a reality, but in the broader interest of the future of the company and its employees this decision has been taken,” said Dearham. Startimes has operations in 12 African countries including Kenya.