SABC charges against journalists 'unprecedented' - union

2016-06-30 14:55
Former SABC employee Cobus Bester and Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp, protest the suspension of three other SABC colleagues. (Pictures: Facebook)

Former SABC employee Cobus Bester and Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp, protest the suspension of three other SABC colleagues. (Pictures: Facebook)

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Cape Town - A union spokesperson said the internal charges brought against three SABC journalists by the public broadcaster on Thursday is unprecedented, and is “clearly a case of victimisation and bullying”.

Three senior staff members of the SABC, Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp, were charged on Thursday for liaising with the media without having permission from authorities.

- Read more: 3 more SABC journalists charged - reports

Hannes du Buisson, spokesperson for the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu), said the union is opposing the charges because it is “unprecedented”, and does not comply with the SABC’s disciplinary code.

Their disciplinary processes are due to commence at 09:00 on Friday, having been notified at 12:00 on Thursday.

“In the 20 years I’ve been involved with the SABC, they have not given less than 24 hours’ notice in disciplinary cases. This is clearly a case of victimisation and bullying,” Buisson told News24 on Thursday.

“They must give 24 hours’ notice. It’s always been two, three days’ notice, to ensure the person is properly prepared and has representatives with them.”

The journalists are alleged to have spoken to The Star, The Citizen, eNCA, News24 and other newspapers without having had permission to do so.

Earlier suspensions

Buisson said that the three employees suspended last week, Thandeka Gqubule, Foeta Krige and Suna Venter, could also have further disciplinary meetings on Friday, but this was not official, he added.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago chose not to comment on the alleged charges against Ntuli, Pillay and Steenkamp, saying to News24 earlier: "Even if I was aware, I would not disclose it publicly."

The three wrote a letter over the weekend to COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, expressing their dissatisfaction with how operations have been managed at the SABC over the last few weeks.

"Our newsroom has become a source of derision, despair and criticism from the people that we are fundamentally accountable to, the public at large," the letter read.

"The developments of the past week have heightened this sense of fear, lack of clarity about our journalistic responsibility and low staff morale."

Read more on:    bemawu  |  sabc  |  media

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