Axed SABC news head Phathsiwa Magopeni set to challenge dismissal – report | News24

Phathiswa Magopeni faces a disciplinary listening to.

Moeletsi Mabe, Gallo Images, Sunday Times

  • Fired SABC head of stories Phathiswa Magopeni is reportedly set to legally problem her dismissal.
  • She was fired from her place on Friday, and ordered handy in any SABC property in her possession by 12:00 on Monday.
  • Sanef believes that Magopeni has been handled unfairly by the SABC.

Axed SABC’s head of stories Phathsiwa Magopeni is claimed to be set to legally problem her dismissal, the public broadcaster reported on Saturday.

This after she was fired on Friday, a month after a disciplinary listening to headed by advocate Nazeer Cassi, discovered her responsible of misconduct, and instructed the board to seek out an applicable sanction.

The proceedings have been associated to the inaccurate airing of an interdicted Special Assignments episode. 

Citing a “breakdown in the trust relationship” between her and the broadcaster, SABC group chief govt officer Madoda Mxakwe, within the letter confirming her dismissal, wrote that Magopeni had not provided mitigating elements for consideration, regardless of requesting extensions.

Magopeni had on Thursday written to the corporate, saying she was not obliged to offer her mitigating elements, and charging that the method, suggestion and sanction weren’t in step with the SABC’s disciplinary code and process. She went to explain the proceedings as incompetent.

READ | SABC fires head of news Phathiswa Magopeni

She had claimed that the disciplinary motion towards her was a results of political interference after the ANC’s Fikile Mbalula blamed the general public broadcaster for the celebration’s dismal efficiency within the elections.

On Saturday, the SA National Editors’ Forum stated Magopeni’s “abrupt dismissal” had come earlier than a panel had adjudicated her “very serious grievances” towards Mxakwe and chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini. She had accused them of interfering within the editorial independence of the SABC by forcing her to arrange interviews with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa throughout final 12 months’s municipal elections marketing campaign.

“Magopeni confidently contends that her sacking is directly linked to her refusal to take instructions from her bosses,” Sanef chairperson Sbu Ngalwa stated in an announcement.


“This pattern needs to be condemned because it makes a mockery of labour laws and associated processes. It also leads to a mistrust of our public institutions and denies the public broadcaster their constitutionally protected freedom of media.

“An surroundings the place individuals will be fired following political interference by the ANC-influenced elections marketing campaign results in self- censorship and restrains journalists and media staff from the liberty they should do their job.”

Ngalwa said that Magopeni had been treated unfairly by the SABC, as they “continued to disregard her submissions to their varied nefarious intents, akin to calling her to present causes for mitigation towards her dismissal, which she wrote again to, but they ignored that and launched an ill-informed assertion concerning her dismissal”.

“The SABC administration and board, since making the announcement to cost Magopeni, has carried itself in a questionable method that has not solely been disheartening, however has additionally put a unfavourable dent on the popularity of the general public broadcaster.

“It’s unfortunate that the gains made in recent years since Magopeni assumed the leadership of the news team are now being taken backward, by a management team that wants to see the news division led asunder with clear political influence from the ANC,” the Sanef chair stated.

Magopeni’s lawyer Rui Roxo instructed News24 he had not spoken to his shopper since 21 January and had not obtained any additional directions from her.

Magopeni couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

‘Timing raises far too many questions’

In an announcement, the SABC stated the choice to dismiss Magopeni was procedurally honest. 

Campaign for Free Expression govt director Anton Harber stated Magopeni had raised severe considerations about editorial interference, and that he discovered it “quite extraordinary” that she had been fired whereas her complaints have been nonetheless to be heard.

He stated he was “surprised” that she had been dismissed, including that there have been inquiries to be raised in regards to the disciplinary process, as a result of the “timing of this just raises far too many concerns”.

According to Harber, the SABC beneath Magopeni had come a good distance in establishing its independence and credibility.

“I think this incident has highlighted that there is not much awareness and experience in the SABC of handling complicated issues in the relationship between editors, managers and lawyers, which is always a difficult and complicated relationship. The SABC has a good code of ethics, but on a practical level there doesn’t seem to be many experience in handling these situations,” he stated.

Magopeni has been instructed handy in all SABC property in her possession by 12:00 on Monday.

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