4 SABC journalists fired because they approached labour court - lawyer

2016-07-18 22:05
Right2know campaigners outside the SABC. (News24)

Right2know campaigners outside the SABC. (News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – Four of the SABC journalists who were suspended or faced disciplinary hearings were fired on Monday possibly because they approached the Labour Court, their lawyer said.

"We will argue [in the court] on Thursday that the reason for them being dismissed is that they pursued their rights in terms of the Labour Court. It is only speculation at this time, [however] I think it is a fair assumption to be made," Anton van der Bijl, the labour attorney for Solidarity who is representing the four journalists, said.

The four are Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp.

Van Der Bijl confirmed that other journalists who were suspended or faced charges at the broadcaster but were not represented by Solidarity were not part of the application to the Labour Court. No action was apparently taken against them on Monday.

He said he would tell the Labour Court that the dismissals be set aside because the decisions were "based on unlawful policy".

"The policy [of the SABC to not broadcast footage of violent protests] is subject to the decision of the ConCourt, the High Court and Icasa. We'll ask that... [the sanctions] cannot proceed because the policy has not had an opportunity to be scrutinised by the court."

Charges inconsistent with the Constitution

Solidarity said in an earlier statement that it "wants to have the suspension and disciplinary action against several SABC journalists set aside pending the adjudication by the Constitutional Court of the lawfulness of the SABC's censorship instructions".

"This comes after the SABC still failed to withdraw the charges against the journalists for their refusal to apply censorship. In a recent letter to the suspended and disciplined journalists, the SABC also accused them of having allegedly committed 'further misbehaviour' by informing the media of their suspensions and their continued refusal to comply with the SABC's instructions."

Solidarity chief executive Dr Dirk Hermann said: "We...believe that the individuals concerned have a very strong case against the SABC for the very reason that the charges laid against them by their employer are inconsistent with the Constitution."

Economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, Krige and Venter were previously served with suspension letters after they disagreed with an instruction during a diary conference not to cover the Right2Know campaign's protest against censorship at the SABC.

That protest was in response to SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng's decision to stop airing footage of the destruction of property during protests. This caused outrage from civil society and media organisations.

Following this, the SABC charged three other journalists for "liaising with the media" without authorisation from their bosses.

SABC to go to court over ruling

The three - Busisiwe Ntuli, Pillay and Steenkamp - wrote a letter to Motsoeneng last weekend, expressing their dissatisfaction with how operations had been managed at the SABC over the last few weeks.

Journalists Lukhanyo Calata and Vuyo Mvoko have also been either charged or suspended by the broadcaster.  

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) ruled last week that the SABC had to withdraw its resolution to ban the broadcasting of violent protests.

Motsoeneng told media at a briefing after the ruling that no one could tell the SABC what to do.

The broadcaster is now reportedly approaching the courts to have Icasa's decision reviewed.

Read more on:    sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  solidarity  |  media

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.