SABC fires seven out of eight suspended journos

SABC fires seven out of eight suspended journos

The high court heard an application filed by the think-tank Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) to stop the SABC from implementing its decision to censor the reporting of protests.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng refuses to do lift the editorial order, and said that he is willing to take the matter to court.

Cape Town - The SABC has still not replied to Icasa's ruling that it must withdraw its ban on the broadcasting of violent protest footage.

Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka says: "On Monday this week the authority reiterated its position to the SABC that what it issued was not a recommendation, but an order for the SABC to comply with".

This aspect was subsequently changed to uphold the public broadcaster's editorial independence.

Earlier, the SABC had already conceded to an interdict sought by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) aimed at stopping the implementation of its policy not to cover violent or other protests.

Solidarity said on Monday that it wanted the suspensions of and disciplinary action against the SABC journalists set aside. Media workers' union Bemawu said its members, Ntuli and Calata, were also approaching the court.

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The two organizations on Wednesday reached a settlement.

Civil society organisations have welcomed the court order.

On Wednesday, trade union Solidarity, which is representing some of the seven fired SABC journalists, said it strengthens their case in the Labour Court on Thursday. "The process started today, but this is an employer/employee issue," Kganyago said.

Motsoeneng told media at a briefing after the ruling that no one could tell the SABC what to do.

Madonsela recommended the SABC board take disciplinary action against Motsoeneng for misrepresenting his qualifications, abusing his power and for the purging of senior staff. Chairman of the portfolio committee on communications Humphrey Maxegwana said Muthambi would appear before the committee in August. "The SABC did the opposite and dismissed them because, ironically, they had distanced themselves from an unlawful instruction", Hermann said.

Until yesterday, the SABC had refused to give in to demands to drop its policy of not broadcasting violent protests during which public property was destroyed.

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