It wasn't cold outside the SABC, says journalist after court victory

2016-07-26 15:26
SABC journalists await the Labour Court judgment. (News24)

SABC journalists await the Labour Court judgment. (News24)

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Johannesburg - One of the four axed SABC journalists who the Labour Court ruled had to be reinstated has said the support he and his colleagues received from South Africans and others in his profession was tremendous.

Following the ruling, Foeta Krige shared comments made to him by former SABC chief executive officer Jimi Matthews.

"He [Matthews] said 'It is cold outside the SABC'... [Actually] the tremendous support we received outside was warm."

Krige said he had new respect for the profession of journalism, because he did not know of any other professionals who would have rallied around their colleagues like this.

READ: SABC 4 must be reinstated, Labour Court rules

Another one of the four, Suna Venter, said this victory was not "the end of the road", because they still had their Constitutional Court application, which would ensure this "cannot be repeated", while Jacques Steenkamp thanked the families of the four, who stood by them through their dismissals.

Krivani Pillay told News24 that she had no idea how much momentum their cause had gained.

'Our job is to report the news'

"There were times where I questioned if our route would yield any results, but the massive, massive support that we have been getting from people inside and outside the SABC has been so overwhelming that we know what we were doing was right."

When asked how she felt about being on the other side of the news, she said: "It is so weird".

"I don't like that we made the news. Our job is to report the news. So we are back at work tomorrow, and back at putting news on the agenda."

READ: Battle won, but war must go on - Solidarity on SABC

She said the Constitutional Court must rule that the SABC is sacred ground and that decisions made within the public broadcaster had to be made within the constraints of the Constitution.

"That is the be-all and end-all of the matter, because at the end of the day it is about the 55 million South Africans that we serve, and we have to serve them to the best of our ability."

According to the judgment, those responsible at the SABC for the dismissals must, within five days, convince the court why they should not be personally held liable for the costs of the dismissals and the subsequent proceedings.

Agreement reached

The other reporters who were notified of their dismissals last week were Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli and Lukhanyo Calata. They would be approaching the Labour Court on Thursday.

Reporter Vuyo Mvoko filed papers in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, asking for an order that the SABC's decision not to "schedule" him constitutes a breach of his freelance contract.

All eight have applied for direct access to the Constitutional Court. They had criticised the broadcaster's policy to not broadcast footage of violent protests.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and the broadcaster reached an agreement on Wednesday which saw the High Court in Pretoria interdicting the broadcaster from enacting its policy.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) ruled on July 11 that the SABC had to withdraw its resolution, announced in May, to ban showing footage of violent protests.

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng initially said after the ruling that no one could tell the SABC what to do and that they would challenge Icasa's decision in court.

However, in a surprise turn Icasa said on Wednesday afternoon that the SABC had agreed to comply with the ruling.

Read more on:    sabc  |  media freedom

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