SABC-journalists: Solidarity asks for cost order and to set aside dismissals

Movement says there must be consequences for intentional unlawful conduct

SABC-journalists: Solidarity asks for cost order and to set aside dismissals

20 July 2016

Trade union Solidarity will tomorrow request the Labour Court to set aside the decision to dismiss the SABC journalists and to revoke the disciplinary process in its entirety, pending the rulings given in the various legal processes against the controversial censorship decision taken by the SABC’s Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Solidarity is representing Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp. The other journalists’ cases are being handled by their own trade unions and legal teams.

Solidarity will also request that the SABC establish who in the organisation was responsible for the decision to dismiss the journalists, and that the court grant a cost order against those persons in their individual capacity.

“The SABC’s decision to dismiss the journalists without a hearing is totally unlawful. The SABC was aware of it but nevertheless proceeded. There must be consequences for intentional unlawful conduct,” Solidarity Chief Executive Dirk Hermann said.

According to Solidarity, the SABC showed contempt for South African courts by proceeding to dismiss the journalists amid legal processes that are under way.

“The SABC’s case is aggravated by the fact that an existing Icasa ruling declares the SABC’s censorship decision unlawful in terms of the Broadcasting Act and the South African Constitution. This Icasa decision stands until invalidated by the Supreme Court in a review process.

If the SABC’s decision is unlawful then all actions arising from it, such as the disciplinary processes, would also be unlawful. From a legal and moral perspective the right thing to do would have been to revoke the disciplinary processes with immediate effect. The SABC did the opposite by firing the journalists.”

Issued by Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive, Solidarity, 20 July 2016