SABC ruined me financially, says former executive
Johannesburg - Another former executive has detailed how the SABC and its lawyers ruined her financially by launching court challenges against her as part of the purging of employees appointed by its controversial ex-chief operations officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
The SABC’s former general manager responsible for commercial enterprises, Nompumelelo Phasha, has become the latest erstwhile employee to accuse her bosses of trying to destroy her financially as she fights to get her job back.
In papers filed at the Labour Appeal Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Phasha states that she was unlawfully and illegally dismissed by the SABC.
“On August 7, 2018, I was charged with five fictitious counts of misconduct by the group COO, Madoda Mxakwe, and was advised on the charge sheet that the company (SABC) had appointed Werkmans Attorneys, in particular, the fourth respondent of the court a quo, Sandile July, to handle the disciplinary hearing on its behalf,” read Phasha’s founding affidavit.
She told the court that she was doubtful and feared a lack of impartiality from SABC executives and July, and requested an inquiry in terms of section 188A of the Labour Relations Act, which allows a pre-dismissal arbitration where an employee and employer approach the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration or a bargaining council to preside over a disciplinary hearing and arbitration.
“I felt that I would not be guaranteed a fair, independent and impartial hearing given the ramblings and impropriety occasioned on former SABC employees before at the hands of the fourth respondent (July) in disciplinary hearings,” added Phasha, who is also a lawyer.
The SABC refused to accede to her request for a section 188A inquiry and subsequently fired her for bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.
Phasha later approached the Labour Court and was reinstated in February last year, but the SABC is appealing against the decision.
According to Phasha, Mxakwe, head of legal Ntuthuzelo Vanara and July were hell-bent on ensuring that she never set foot on the SABC’s premises again.
She accused the trio of putting their interests before those of the SABC, and said their vendetta was “malicious, personal and smacks of a fiefdom holding employees ransom by abusing the public purse despite the correct and clear position attained in law”.
Phasha added that she had had to borrow money as she was saddled with an ever-increasing, astronomical bill of legal costs, and that her lawyers wanted to walk away from the case due to the money she owed.
She said her unlawful dismissal had left her in dire financial straits as she depended on her salary to take care of her four children and extended family in Mpumalanga.