Sanef seeking urgent meeting with The Citizen over Motale's dismissal

2016-11-29 19:04

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Johannesburg – The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) is seeking an urgent meeting with The Citizen publisher Eureka Zandberg over the dismissal of its editor Steven Motale, whom it says was not afforded an internal disciplinary process. 

"While Sanef has noted that the publisher has denied that the content of stories published in the paper were at issue, we strongly condemn the lack of transparency about the disciplinary process that led to Motale’s axing and we are seeking an urgent meeting with the publishers of The Citizen to express our concerns," Sanef media freedom committee chair Sam Mkokeli said in a statement. 

Mkokeli said that, in an internal memorandum sent to The Citizen's staff, Motale was accused of failing to follow agreed-upon editorial procedures and upholding his editorial duties, which had led to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence between the editor and the publisher of the newspaper.

However, Motale claimed he had to contend with improper managerial interference in editorial affairs, including news content and processes to hire journalists, Sanef said.

Sanef said it believed that the termination of service should at all times follow laid down labour relations procedures, "which include internal processes, failing which the matter can then be taken to the CCMA and the Labour Court".

News24 earlier reported that Motale intended to challenge his dismissal in court. Motale was suspended four weeks ago.

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