Sanef calls for public hearing following disciplinary action against SABC head of news

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In a statement, the South African National Editors’ Forum said it had learnt of the SABC's decision to bring disciplinary action against Magopeni for alleged negligence and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.
In a statement, the South African National Editors’ Forum said it had learnt of the SABC's decision to bring disciplinary action against Magopeni for alleged negligence and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.
  • Sanef has called for transparency in disciplinary proceedings against the SABC's head of news.
  • Phathiswa Magopeni was reportedly charged after the public broadcaster aired a programme the SABC had been interdicted from broadcasting. 
  • Magopeni has recently come under attack by the ANC, who blamed the SABC for its poor election results.

The SABC has reportedly instituted disciplinary proceedings against its head of news Phathiswa Magopeni.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said in a statement that it had learnt of the SABC's decision to bring disciplinary action against Magopeni for alleged negligence and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.

According to Timeslive, Magopeni faced disciplinary action over the flighting of a Special Assignment episode that had been interdicted from being aired. 

Magopeni was reportedly being held responsible for the decision to broadcast the episode.

The episode exposed alleged anti-competitive practices in the towing industry. A contempt of court order had since been sought against the SABC, Sanef said.

SABC Corporate Affairs and Marketing Group Executive Gugu Ntuli said the SABC had no comment.

"The SABC has the responsibility to investigate the violation of a court order after an episode of the investigative programme Special Assignment was aired, six weeks after the court ordered that it should not be broadcast. The media is not above the law, and court decisions must be respected. Any responsible company would do that," Sanef said.

Sanef said the latest developments came on the back of political pressure and attacks on Magopeni.

This week, the ANC blamed her for the party's poor showing in the recent municipal elections.

READ | Baseless and shameful, says Sanef in response to Mbalula's claims about SABC's election coverage

On Thursday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the SABC had not shown the party's good side and only focused on negative service delivery issues in the municipalities it ran.

"While we are not saying that those two issues are related, however, the timing raises eyebrows and suspicions of a possible politically motivated witch-hunt," Sanef said in a statement.

Sanef said it did not condone the breach of the court interdict, but was instead calling for "openness in the handling of the matter".

"Given that the waters have been muddied by the blatant political attacks on Magopeni and the SABC, over their coverage of the 1 November elections, we call on the SABC management to make Magopeni's hearing public, in the interests of transparency," Sanef said.

It added that this would assist to dispel any perception that the process was a politically motivated witch-hunt.


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