Citizen editor feels 'vindicated' after winning dismissal case

Steve Motale (Facebook)
Steve Motale (Facebook)

Johannesburg - The Citizen editor Steve Motale will be going back to work on Monday after the Labour Court set aside his dismissal on Friday, he confirmed to News24 on Friday. 

"I've been advised to go to work on Monday, but my lawyers and The Citizen's lawyers are still engaging following this morning's ruling in court," he said. 

Motale was suspended from his duties in November last year, pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary process, The Citizen's publisher Eureka Zandberg said in a statement to staff at the time. 

"I have always maintained I was innocent and this was a glaring interference with editorial by management. They wanted to dictate which stories I could run," Motale said.

Motale said that, in The Citizen's affidavit, it became clear that he had been axed after he wrote an apology to President Jacob Zuma.

"What is striking in their court papers is that they have been hounding me for a column apologising to Zuma. That was proof that the column was the origin of my persecution. I feel great that I have been vindicated."

Motale said he wished that his employer would take responsibility for its actions. He said the courts were clear that the employer had infringed on his right to a disciplinary hearing.

"They said I was going through the disciplinary process and the court saw that to be false. There was no such hearing. I am not the aggressor. They have to take accountability." 

In an internal memorandum sent to The Citizen's staff, Motale was accused of failing to follow agreed-upon editorial procedures and not 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.

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