Mass action threat over SABC staff’s reinstatement
Johannesburg - The SOS Support Public Broadcasting coalition says if the public broadcasters’ journalists are not allowed to return back to work on Wednesday as ordered by the Labour Court, the organisation will enforce the judgment in a mass action campaign.
The SOS’ Sekoetlane Phamodi said the NGO would ensure that all aspects of the judgment were followed by the SABC, including the cost order.
“We will ensure that the principles of the judgment are enforced both within the court and on the streets,” said Phamodi.
“Should the workers not be admitted back into the office we will be out in full force in mass public action to see the matter enforced,” he warned.
The court ruled on Tuesday that four journalists who were dismissed for questioning the SABC’s editorial policy must be allowed back to work and that their dismissals were unlawful.
This was after trade union Solidarity, who represented Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Jacques Steenkamp and Krivani Pillay, filed an urgent court application to have their dismissals overturned.
Also in an unusual move, the court ordered that two managers at the SABC should file affidavits within five days as to why they should not be held personally liable for the costs of the court action.
“Within five days of the order, Seboleto Ditihakanane, the respondents’ general manager: radio news and current affairs and Mololo S Tebele, the acting general executive (for) news and current affairs must file affidavits showing cause why they should not personally be held liable for all or part of the costs of this application.
“Such costs to be paid on the attorney-own client scale and including the costs of the two counsel,” said Judge Robert Lagrange.
One of the dismissed journalists, Suna Venter, said she looked forward to returning to work on Wednesday to cover the local government elections.
“So I am very happy that I am going back to work tomorrow and that I will be able to be a journalist again and do the stories that are so important such as covering the elections,” said a visibly calm Venter.
When asked if she expected hostility, she replied that she was confident in strong legal team.
Solidarity has described the judgment as a victory for broader society and the other three dismissed journalists.