The Johannesburg Labour Court has found that former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former head of news Simon Tebele and the SABC must each pay a portion of the legal costs for the wrongful dismissal of the SABC8.
Suna Venter, Foeta Krige, Krivani Pillay, Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli, Lukhanyo Calata, Vuyo Mvoko and Jacques Steenkamp were fired by the public broadcaster in July 2016 for speaking out against Motsoeneng’s policy of no longer airing footage of violent protests. Seven of the eight journalists were subsequently rehired.
The broadcaster, Motsoeneng and Tebele had to pay the costs for Solidarity and Bemawu, who represented the dismissed journalists in their court case.Motsoeneng was removed as COO after the Supreme Court of Appeal in September 2016 rejected his bid to appeal the Western Cape High Court’s November 2015 ruling declaring his appointment irrational and setting it aside.
In June, the SABC announced Motsoeneng’s dismissal after he was found guilty by an internal disciplinary hearing where charges of bringing the SABC into disrepute and causing irreparable damage to his employer were investigated.
The internal disciplinary committee found that he lied about his qualifications, that he purged the SABC of staff and promoted people and raised salaries without following the correct procedures.