SABC head of news found guilty of misconduct

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Phathiswa Magopeni has been found guilty.
Phathiswa Magopeni has been found guilty.
Veli Nhlapo, Gallo Images, Sowetan
  • SABC head of news Phathiswa Magopeni has been found guilty of failing to stop the broadcasting of an interdicted episode.
  • Advocate Nazir Cassim says the SABC board must decide on a sanction, but he recommends a warning.
  • Magopeni was charged in regards to the airing of an interdicted episode of Special Assignment.

The SABC head of news, Phathiswa Magopeni, has been found guilty of failing to stop the broadcast of an interdicted Special Assignment episode.  

Magopeni was charged after the episode was erroneously aired. During the three days of hearings in Sandton, she argued the show was aired because of a coding error.  

In a written verdict on Thursday, the head of her disciplinary hearing, advocate Nazir Cassim, said Magopeni didn't understand her role at the public broadcaster.  

"The content of the program [sic] belonged to her department, and her written responses both of the 3 and 19 November 2021 demonstrated a lack of understanding of her role in the sphere of accountability and corporate governance."

Magopeni had argued that the show was on the video entertainment platform, and she could not authorise that it be removed from the system.  

Cassim said, ordinarily, he would recommend a warning for her.  

"However, the employee's written closing argument as prepared by Ms Carvalho regrettably complicates matters and casts the employee in a bad light. In paragraph 36 of the heads, it is asserted that 'the charges brought against the employee are a farce and done so hastily'."

Cassim recommended that the SABC board allow Magopeni to "distance herself from the contents of paragraph 36 as it would be unjust to punish Ms Magopeni for a submission and an opinion of her attorney".

He said if she distanced herself, his recommendation of giving her a warning, would stand.  

"If, however, Ms Magopeni makes common cause with the view of her attorney, then the Board must, in its discretion and decision-making power, adopt a sanction which is consistent with that of a breakdown in the trust relationship between employer and employee. In short, it is now upon Ms Magopeni to decide her own future with the SABC."

He said any sanction must be "just and equitable to both employer and employee. This, however, is a decision that rests with the CEO and the Board of the SABC". 

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