SABC would be foolish to oppose our case - union for 3 axed journalists

2016-07-26 19:03
SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata protests for journalist's rights outside the SABC offices in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata protests for journalist's rights outside the SABC offices in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Johannesburg - On the heels of the victory of four of the axed SABC journalists in the Labour Court on Tuesday, three of their other dismissed colleagues now effectively have a winning chance as well, their union Bemawu said.

"It is basically the same set of facts. What is additional here is that two of them initially asked for clarification on their section 8 letter, and were dismissed while that process was still happening," Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union president Hannes du Buisson told News24.

"We filed our application on Friday, and it will be heard on Thursday. They [the SABC] have not filed any answering papers, and they would be foolish to oppose the application."

Bemawu was representing Busisiwe Ntuli, Lukhanyo Calata and Thandeka Gqubule.

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.

READ: Battle won, but war must go on - Solidarity on SABC
According to the judgment, those responsible at the SABC for the dismissals must, within five days, convince the court why they should not be personally held liable for the costs of the dismissals and the subsequent proceedings.

Du Buisson said the SABC would face the same if they opposed the application for the other three journalists.

Krige, Venter, Pillay and Steenkamp were represented by trade union Solidarity.

Journalists targeted

The union told the media after Tuesday's judgment that their success paves the way forward for the other three.

"This is an important strategic judgment for the others," Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann said.

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

All eight have applied for direct access to the Constitutional Court.

READ: 'Make Hlaudi pay' - SABC staffers' lawyer

They were targeted by the broadcaster for criticising its policy banning the broadcasting footage of violent protests.

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, which was announced in May, to ban showing footage of violent protests.

SABC chief operating officer 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.

Read more on:    sabc  |  media freedom

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