Solidarity: We won’t rest until SABC pays for journos’ case

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Trade union, Solidarity, has said it will not rest until those at the SABC responsible for firing eight journalists, pay for the legal costs incurred during court cases.

In the matter between the SABC and Solidarity on behalf of four of the fired journalists, Suna Venter, Foeta Krige, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp heard last month before the Labour Court, it was ruled that the SABC had to state who had made the decision to fire the four and that these persons or the public broadcaster be held accountable for the case’s legal costs.

The other four also launched court applications for their dismissals, but only the case of Vuyo Mvoko was heard.

In response to the court order, the SABC revealed that its newly-elected News and Current Affairs Group Executive, Simon Tebele was the man behind the decision to fire the journalists.

The public broadcaster did not however state who should be liable for costs

Solidarity is pushing for the costs to be incurred for Tebele and any other individual involved to bare the costs, instead of the SABC as an organisation, which would ultimately mean the bill would be footed by taxpayers.

According to Anton van der Bijl, Head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, the original statement submitted by the SABC officials as to why they should not be held accountable for the costs, contained only vague allegations.

“The SABC did not put any evidence before the court as to who should be held accountable for the legal costs of Solidarity and the SABC 8,” Van der Bijl said.

“We approached the court to give a formal decision as to who should be held accountable for the unnecessary costs squandered on this case. We cannot and will not leave the matter here, and the persons who took the decision and who were part of the decision to dismiss the individuals must pay every cent of these costs. The taxpayer simply cannot be held accountable for the SABC’s unlawful actions,” Van der Bijl added.

A date to have the matter heard in court will be set.

[Source – Solidarity]