Johannesburg - A complaint from the department of correctional services against Talk Radio 702 was dismissed, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) said on Tuesday.
“We have understanding for the displeasure of the department concerning the broadcaster's repeated criticism of the fact that (national commissioner of correctional services) Mr (Tom) Moyane was forced to retire at age 60, whilst the minister was turning 64,” the BCCSA said in its judgment.
“On the other hand, (department spokesman Logan) Maistry... had on more than one occasion the opportunity of explaining the matter on air in a lucid and convincing manner.”
The department claimed there was extensive criticism, which took place over two days in September last year, regarding the retirement of the national commissioner of correctional services.
This was despite “clear corrective” on-air statements by Maistry.
Maistry had emphasised that the department got legal opinion on the matter and it was made clear that unless the person concerned told the employer that they wished to continue working after turning 60, and a certain procedure was followed, the employee was obliged to retire.
Moyane was interviewed by the radio station and admitted that the legislation required him to retire but he was seeking legal advice.
Talk Radio 702, though one of its presenters, criticised this situation, arguing that it was ironic that Moyane had to step down while Ndebele was not expected to because of his age.
“The tribunal held that, in spite of the fact that the law was clear on the matter, questions could nevertheless be asked by a broadcaster from a political or moral perspective as to why this was the situation,” the BCCSA said.
“The lucid explanation provided by the spokesperson of the department on more than one occasion gave balance to the debate.”
The BCCSA tribunal found that the commentary did not go beyond what was legally tolerable in regard to public figures.