SA journalist Sam Mkokeli. File photo: Siphelele Dludla / ANA.
SA journalist Sam Mkokeli. File photo: Siphelele Dludla / ANA.

'I mean business': Sam Mkokeli takes on Bloomberg over axing

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Sep 25, 2019

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Veteran journalist Sam Mkokeli has threatened to drive Bloomberg News “back overseas with tales (sic) between their legs” for firing him after he had challenged the racial imbalance in the company. 

Mkokeli, who was the chief reporter for Africa, took to Twitter on Wednesday announcing that he was at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to challenge the American owned media company’s action against him. 

“I am at the CCMA today for arbitration for the small matter of their written and final written warnings. 

“I will drive them back overseas with tales between their legs. I mean business,” he tweeted.

Mkokeli. who is currently the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef)’s media freedom chairperson, also wrote that he was fired eventually or “summary dismissal”. “Like, get the f… out of here".

“Like a bullet through your soul. @bpolitics @business that’s Bloomberg for you.” 

He said he was fired early this year for criticising the company’s “lily-white culture in Africa”. 

He said he was fired after he had accused the company of having an all white management team that created a high turnover of black reporters.

He alleged that in an effort to get rid of him after he had provided evidence in his defence, the management instructed the human resources department to reinvestigate his charges. 

“They cooked up fresh charges: expense claims going back two years. So stupid were the charges they even suggested I never traveled to Nasrec for the ANC conference.

“It's a simple crime. How come you have a lily white leadership structure and culture in Africa? @business got fired for that,” he tweeted.

Although some of his Twitter followers supported him, others such as darren @CoetseeDarren lashed out at him. 

“You will loose this one. UR conduct itself is racist+the code of conduct would clearly dictate that employees who are suggesting that others should be dismissed based on the colour of their skin is a dismissable offence.

“If you do win this case it would be a travesty of Justice,” tweeted Darren. @LagerMntumni said: “Do to them the things that Peter Moyo does mkhuluwa - kubo!” in reference to Peter Moyo successfully challenging his dismissal as Old Mutual chief executive officer in the Johannesburg High Court.  

When contacted, Bloomberg executive editor John McCory referred questions to the company’s spokesperson Kerri Chyka who is based in America, and attempts to call her were unsuccessful.  

Mkokeli referred queries to his lawyer Clifford Levin who did not answer his phone. 

South African Editors Forum executive director Kate Skimmer said the CCMA matter was still in progress. 

She said the forum was watching the matter, and was trying to make sure that journalists cover the case. 

Political Bureau

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