SABC 4 Labour Court victory welcomed

2016-07-26 16:13
SABC journalists await the Labour Court judgment. (News24)

SABC journalists await the Labour Court judgment. (News24)

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Johannesburg - The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the Right2Know campaign welcomed Tuesday’s Labour Court ruling that four of the axed SABC journalists must be reinstated. 

“The court decision affirms media freedom and sends a strong message that censorship has no place in a democracy," Sanef said in a statement. 

It praised the “brave journalists” for taking the SABC to court and protecting their rights and several constitutionally-enshrined freedoms.

The SABC should abide by the court’s decision and allow the four journalists, along with three others who were fired, and one freelancer whose contract was terminated, to resume their roles without further harassment and intimidation, it said.

“Sanef is concerned about the undemocratic climate under which all journalists at the SABC now operate. It has been shown through this court case and other events that the SABC management is determined to ingrain a culture of fear that is harmful to media freedom and democracy.”

The SABC’s executive and board lacked the ability to lead an independent and professional public broadcaster in line with its constitutionally-derived mandate. It was in dire need of ethical leadership, which Parliament and government had to help put in place, Sanef said.

The R2K said the judgment was a "stunning vindication for those who have sided with the dismissed journalists and the cause of press freedom".

“It is another blow for the incompetent board and the cabal around COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng who have instilled a climate of fear and intimidation at the SABC,” it said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Labour Court in Johannesburg ruled that the dismissals of Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay, and Jacques Steenkamp were unlawful and that they be reinstated. 

Those responsible for the dismissals had five days to convince the court why they should not be personally held liable for the costs of the dismissals and the subsequent proceedings.

Seven SABC reporters were fired last week. Busisiwe Ntuli,  Lukhanyo Calata, and Thandeka Gqubule would challenge their dismissals in the court on Thursday. The eighth employee was freelance journalist Vuyo Mvoko, whose contract was terminated.

All eight have applied for direct access to the Constitutional Court to challenge the SABC’s policy to no longer air footage of the destruction of property during protests. 

Read more on:    sanef  |  right2know  |  sabc  |  johannesburg  |  media

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