Trade union calls for investigation into Motsoeneng – Solidarity

Movement wants disciplinary actions against SABC employees withdrawn after ICASA rules broadcaster must end censorship

Trade union calls for investigation into Motsoeneng, withdrawal of suspensions

11 July 2016

Trade union Solidarity today asked that all suspensions and disciplinary actions instituted against SABC employees should be withdrawn. The trade union furthermore called for the immediate suspension of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Chief Operating Officer of the SABC, pending an investigation into his ability to manage the SABC.

This comes after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) today ruled against the SABC's decision not to broadcast violent audio and visual material about protest actions in future. In addition, the SABC must withdraw retrospectively the instruction not to broadcast violence and provide Icasa with feedback within seven days.

According to Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity welcomes this ruling. “The ruling proves that the SABC, under the guidance of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, did not act within the framework of the Constitution. We therefore request that all charges against the suspended SABC employees be withdrawn and that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be removed from his position as chief operating officer of the SABC immediately, pending an investigation,” Hermann said.

Hermann furthermore added that Icasa’s ruling against the SABC was a victory for the principle of freedom of speech. “This ruling is a victory for the ethical SABC journalists who, despite unlawful instructions and intimidation, stood up for constitutional principles,” Hermann said.

Solidarity announced earlier that it would approach the Constitutional Court to dispute the constitutionality of the suspension of the three SABC journalists, Foeta Krige, Suna Venter and Thandeka Gqubule. Krige, Venter and Gqubule were suspended in June after voicing their objections at a press meeting against the instruction not to report on protests of the Right2Know Campaign against SABC censorship. Solidarity represents all three journalists.

Issued by Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive, Solidarity, 11 July 2016