File photo: ANA/Karen Sandison
The SABC is gunning for employees who were unlawfully appointed to their positions.

The public broadcaster is to approach the Labour Court today to file an application to set aside 28 appointments that have been declared “unlawful and invalid,” according to spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu.

This follows the release of the SABC’s report into its year-long investigation into claims of editorial interference. Some of the recommendations made by the inquiry, headed by veteran journalist Joe Thloloe, were that an audit of appointments be conducted and reviewed, and where gaps are found these appointments must be reversed and re-advertised.

The investigation started last May, upon the binding recommendations of a report by the public protector into political and editorial interference.

Yesterday, Mthembu said: “The application follows recommendations in the report by the public protector and a parliamentary ad-hoc committee, as well as the SABC’s internal investigation with regard to irregular appointments at the SABC.

“So far, 28 cases have been identified in the first phase of the process. The ongoing investigation might reveal further irregular appointments. All the affected parties are to be afforded the opportunity to oppose the application,” he said.

The report of the investigation released a fortnight ago, also found that from 2012 to 2017, SABC executives “took instructions from people who had no authority in the newsroom”, including from the likes of SABC board member Ellen Tshabalala, and former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

The report also recommended that at least one workshop be held annually on editorial policies and ethics for staff; and because the SABC needs healing, staff need to attend team-building activities that focus on the common good; with a review of freelance workers’ contracts, among others.

Thloloe’s report also found that the SABC had been crippled by “pain, anger and fear, and frustration, anxiety and apathy, inattentiveness, detachment and helplessness”.