SABC journalists will be back at work soon – Solidarity

2016-07-24 14:12
SABC head office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

SABC head office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Johannesburg – Trade union Solidarity has high hopes the Labour Court will set aside the dismissal of four journalists fired by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) last week, it said on Sunday.

The union, along with the four SABC journalists – Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp – approached the court on Friday to obtain an interdict setting aside their dismissals.

Another four journalists were also fired, leading to the group becoming known as the #SABC8

Solidarity chief executive officer, Dirk Hermann, said in a statement he was convinced that the union's legal team had managed to persuade the court the dismissal of the four journalists was unlawful and in breach of legislation.

"We are convinced that our members would soon be back at work to serve the public by providing information to them,” he said.

Judge Rob Lagrange is expected to indicate whether he will deliver judgment at 10:00 on Monday, and if not, it would definitely be given on Tuesday, Herman said.

Motsoeneng 'personally responsible'

According to City Press report, the SABC's chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, may be held personally responsible for the legal costs incurred as a result of the axing of the four journalists, which could amount to thousands of rands.

On Friday the axed SABC employees argued that they were targeted because they could not comply with their journalistic ethics and the broadcaster's protest policy at the same time.

"Journalists are the bearers of ethical and constitutional obligations which go to the very heart of their daily existence," Steven Budlender, representing four of the SABC 8, told the court.

"The problem that the protest policy created for the applicants was that they couldn't comply with their ethical obligations and the policy. [They said] 'we can't do both'."


Budlender argued that the dismissals went against their employment contracts and the Bill of Rights, and that this made it unconstitutional to dismiss them.

The court was hearing the case of four journalists – Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp – who were being represented by trade union Solidarity.  

The other reporters who were notified of their dismissals this week were Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli and Lukhanyo Calata.

They had criticised the SABC's policy of not broadcasting footage of violent protests.

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

Read more on:    solidarity  |  sabc  |  labour  |  media

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