SABC interdict will be used in fired journalists' Labour Court case

Johannesburg - The High Court interdict against the SABC's policy to not show footage of violent protests will be used in Thursday's Labour Court case in which four of the employees that were fired by the broadcaster will be challenging their dismissal.

"It would impact our case because to a certain extent the SABC and court are of a view that the current policy is unlawful," the lawyer for the four employees, Solidarity's Anton van der Bijl told News24.

"Therefore anything that follows from that policy, such as the disciplinary hearings, the suspensions and the dismissals are unlawful and unconstitutional.

"Our priority [in the Labour Court] is that the dismissals and suspensions be set aside and that they go back to work."

The SABC this week sacked journalists for disagreeing with a decision to censor coverage of protests before the disciplinary cases against some of them had been concluded.

Seven SABC reporters were fired this week. The eighth person was freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko, whose contract was terminated.

Surprise move by SABC

It emerged on Tuesday that the broadcaster had fired Busisiwe Ntuli, a specialist producer for investigative programme Special Assignment, and Lukhanyo Calata, an SABC journalist in Cape Town. Economics editor Thandeka Gqubule confirmed later that she had also been sacked.

Four others - Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp - were informed of their axing on Monday. They are the employees approaching the Labour Court on Thursday.

All eight reporters have applied for direct access to the Constitutional Court. They recently updated their urgent application requesting the court to intervene over their dismissals. The journalists, dubbed the "SABC 8", initially approached the court on Friday to have the SABC's conduct and the charges against them declared "unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid".

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 the airing of footage of violent protests.

SABC COO 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 agreed to comply with the ruling.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
33% - 696 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
67% - 1399 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.17
+0.5%
Rand - Pound
20.48
+0.6%
Rand - Euro
17.11
+0.7%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.87
+0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.9%
Gold
1,843.87
-0.2%
Silver
23.84
+0.1%
Palladium
2,304.00
+4.6%
Platinum
1,054.50
+2.5%
Brent Crude
88.20
+2.2%
Top 40
67,275
+2.1%
All Share
73,714
+1.9%
Resource 10
74,933
+2.8%
Industrial 25
91,461
+1.8%
Financial 15
14,956
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE