Bullard appeal back in council

2009-06-22 20:07

Johannesburg - Former Sunday Times columnist David Bullard's appeal against his dismissal was referred back to a statutory council in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Monday.

The case was initially scheduled to be heard by a council but then Bullard decided to take his former employer, Avusa Media Ltd, to the Labour Court in a bid to get his job back.

"The matter is referred to the statutory council and there is no order to costs," said Judge Ellem Jacob Francis, after a 10 minute adjournment to decide on the matter.

Bullard and Avusa would have to pay their own legal fees as Francis made no costs order.

Bullard was fired in April last year after he wrote a column headlined "Uncolonised Africa wouldn't know what it was missing".

He was accused of being racist and fired by newspaper editor Mondli Makhanya over the phone five days after the column was published.

Court experience

Dressed in a navy striped suit, a white shirt and a red striped tie, Bullard looked relaxed as his arrived at court with his legal representatives.

"I am not here for money, even if there is a settlement, that money would be given to charity - the people who need it. I am here to clear my name of the horrible experience," Bullard told Sapa.

"And I'm also here for experience, I have never been to court before," he added.

The case was called after lengthy negotiations between the two legal teams outside court.
Bullard's attorney, Ari Soldatos, opened the arguments by stating that there were three issues which needed to be dealt with, starting with "whether my client was a Sunday Times employee or not".

Soldatos said the second issue was whether the matter should have gone for arbitration.

"The third issue is the one raised by the respondent that it can't be an unfair dismissal case because it was not necessarily unfair as an apology was tendered by the applicant."

Soldatos was referring to the apology published in the Business Day on April 18, 2008 where Bullard apologised to the Sunday Times readers, Makhanya and the nation.

"He felt it was proper, fair and that an apology was warranted," Soldatos said.

From council to court

He requested that the case be referred to the statutory council and that the newspaper should pay their legal fees for Monday as they had brought up the issue late.

Avusa's lawyer, Puke Maseremole, argued that the matter was before the statutory council before but Bullard had written a letter to the council asking for the matter to be set down as he intended to go to the labour court.

"The matter was removed from the roll because it could not be pending before the council and be before the labour court. This was not a mistake," Maseremole said.


Maseremole further argued that when Bullard wrote the apology he had "accepted that the opinion he had expressed should not have been expressed. He had taken it back".

He said Bullard had taken a position to come to court and expose his former employer.

"When the issue of an apology came to light last week Friday, we wrote to the applicant advising him to withdraw the matter because it can't be unfair dismissal."

Maseremole asked the judge to strike the matter off the roll and that Bullard be made to pay all their legal costs as he had intentionally taken the matter to court instead of the right forum [the statutory council] where it was before.

Soldatos hit back, saying it should not be forgotten that the respondent filed an answering statement on the unfair dismissal in July 2008, while it knew about the apology.


Read more on:    sunday times  |  labour court  |  mondli makhanya  |  david bullard

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


ANC set for two-thirds majority - poll

The ANC is on course to win nearly a two-thirds majority in 7 May elections, a poll has showed, confounding analysts who had predicted a fall in support for the ruling party.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.