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SABC fires head of news Phathiswa Magopeni

SABC's Sea Point offices. Picture Henk Kruger

SABC's Sea Point offices. Picture Henk Kruger

Published Jan 28, 2022

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The SABC has fired head of news Phathiswa Magopeni amid her being found guilty of misconduct on Friday.

This was after Magopeni faced a disciplinary hearing last month chaired by a senior counsel.

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In a statement on Friday the SABC announced that Magopeni has been axed.

“Magopeni’s services have been terminated with immediate effect and she has been informed accordingly,” said the SABC.

In December last year, the public broadcaster instituted an open and transparent disciplinary process to deal with the airing of an interdicted Special Assignment episode.

Magopeni was found guilty of misconduct for failure to take appropriate measures to ensure that the court order was complied with.

“Advocate Nazeer Cassim dealt with the issue as follows: he recommended that Magopeni be given a sanction of a warning. However, if Magopeni made common cause with the remarks as set out in the heads of argument submitted on her behalf, the SABC should, in its discretion and decision-making power, adopt a sanction which is consistent with that of a breakdown in the trust relationship between employer and employee,” said the SABC.

“In this regard, Cassim gave the parties sufficient guidelines to deal with the issue of sanction, without further resort to himself.”

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Magopeni was afforded an opportunity to submit mitigating factors and to address aggravating factors identified by the SABC, in line with the rule of natural justice and the audi alteram partem (listen to the other side) principle.

“After several requests for extensions, instead of taking up the opportunity to submit her mitigating factors and distance herself from the remarks in, among other things, the heads of argument submitted on her behalf, she elected not to submit her mitigating factors. Thus, she waived her right to do so.

“In the absence of Magopeni’s mitigating factors, the SABC concluded that there is a breakdown in the trust relationship between her and the SABC. Consequently, Magopeni’s services have been terminated with immediate effect and she has been informed accordingly,” said SABC.

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