SABC in contempt of court - Solidarity

2016-07-27 12:44
SABC journalists wait for information regarding when they will be allowed to return to work. (News24)

SABC journalists wait for information regarding when they will be allowed to return to work. (News24)

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Johannesburg - The SABC has acted in contempt of court, Solidarity chief executive officer Dirk Hermann told journalists shortly after the SABC four were informed they could not come back to work.

"It’s totally unacceptable. The fact of the matter is that there is a judgment and the judgment says they have to be back at work today. If you don’t allow them back, you are in contempt of court. The fact of the matter is that the SABC is in contempt of court,” he said. ‎

The Labour Court ruled on Tuesday that four of the eight SABC journalists who were axed by the broadcaster had to be reinstated. It also ruled that they were entitled to return to work.

The SABC was interdicted from proceeding with the disciplinary hearings against the four before they were dismissed.

Solidarity on Wednesday tweeted a copy of a lawyer's letter, indicating that the SABC intended to appeal the judgment.

The "SABC 4" reported for duty a little after 08:00 on Wednesday, but were told they could not come back.

'Intention'

After waiting for two hours at the entrance of the SABC television buildings, SABC acting head of news Simon Tebele told the four journalists that they were not allowed inside.

Tebele said SABC lawyers had written to the journalist’s lawyers, "informing them that you could not report for duty".

"That letter only showed an intention. There is nothing legally filed yet. Since there is no formal application for a leave to appeal, the SABC is still bound to that judgment," Hermann said.

Solidarity said it would now go back to the Labour Court on an urgent basis in order to force the SABC to allow its members to come back to work.

"We have already started to prepare our papers, which will be submitted later on today," he added.

The four journalists are Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp. They asked the court to set aside their dismissals, and that their disciplinary processes be revoked in their entirety. The four were represented by trade union Solidarity.

They had criticised the broadcaster's policy to not broadcast footage of violent protests.‎

Read more on:    sabc  |  media freedom

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