I would not do things differently - former Cape Times editor

2016-05-09 13:17
Alide Dasnois outside the Labour Court. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Alide Dasnois outside the Labour Court. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town – Independent Newspapers on Monday retracted all allegations of racism against former Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois and paid her a settlement for unfair dismissal.

In what Dasnois labelled a victory for all journalists, her case of unfair dismissal was withdrawn within five minutes of proceedings starting in the Cape Town Labour Court.

Shortly before, the two parties had met Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker in chambers.

- Read more: Former Cape Times editor satisfied with settlement

Independent Newspapers said it would issue a statement in "a couple of hours". It had made a lot of concessions in the agreement they signed on Monday. The settlement amount would remain confidential, the court heard.

In a joint agreement presented at the Labour Court, Independent Newspapers said it did not agree with Dasnois's decision to publish a wrap-around on December 6, 2013 on the death of former president Nelson Mandela.

Instead, the paper led with an article about an adverse finding by the Public Protector regarding an R800m fishing vessel management tender awarded to a subsidiary of Sekunjalo, the holding company of Independent Newspapers.

On Monday, the paper acknowledged that her decision was not in any way intended to show disrespect for Mandela and his legacy.

"Or to embarrass Independent Newspapers, its owners or management and was a decision in respect of which Dasnois was exercising her prerogative as editor. The parties however, disagree about whether the manner in which she exercised this prerogative was appropriate," the agreement reads.

The paper acknowledged that she was not motivated by racism, and retracted all allegations made against her before it fired her.

Dasnois said she was happy with the outcome, which underlined the independence she and her lawyers had been fighting for in court. It had been a long and stressful process and she was glad it was over - but she would not do anything differently given the chance.

She was happy and settled in her new life, working for GroundUp, an online media group.

Open Democracy Advice Centre head of advocacy Alison Tilley said the agreement should give confidence to journalists and editors facing difficult decisions.

“They should come away from this feeling strengthened. The winners today are journalists," she said.

Read more on:    independent newspapers  |  alide dasnois  |  iqbal surve  |  cape town  |  labour  |  media

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