SABC relents: seven of the #SABC8 reinstated as broadcaster backtracks on appeal plan

The SABC has backtracked on its plans to appeal the decision by the Labour Court ordering it to reinstate four journalists it had sacked. (Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The SABC has backtracked on its plans to appeal the decision by the Labour Court ordering it to reinstate four journalists it had sacked. (Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The SABC will reinstate seven of the eight journalists who challenged their dismissal for speaking out against a decision by the public broadcaster to ban news coverage of destructive protests.

Four of the group - Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp -  were locked out of the SABC offices early on Wednesday morning despite a court order allowing them to return to their duties immediately

The four took their case to the Labour Court which ruled on Tuesday that they be reinstated. Additionally, the judgment declared that the journalists should not be liable for any legal costs they incurred while appealing their dismissal. Judge Andre van Niekerk, delivering the judgment on behalf of Judge Robert Lagrange, also lambasted the SABC’s “reckless regard for the pending applications”.

The four reported for duty but were refused entry‚ pending the appeal by the public broadcaster‚ according to activists from civil society group, Right to Know‚ who staged a sit-in at the SABC head office.

In a brief and tersely-worded statement the SABC said, “The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) management has instructed its legal team not to proceed with further legal action and the SABC will reinstate the seven dismissed news employees.” 

Kiri Rupiah

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