The trade union representing eight journalists who were either charged or suspended by the SABC expects chief operating Hlaudi Motsoeneng to ignore communications regulator Icasa’s ruling that the broadcaster remove its ban on broadcasting protests.
Icasa on Monday ordered that the SABC withdraw its decision to not air footage of violent protests, after a public hearing was held on 24 June following complaints from a number of civil bodies last month.
Chief executive for the Solidarity trade union Dirk Hermann said on Monday that they were realistic about the chances of the SABC unilaterally accepting Icasa’s order.
“We were not surprised by the Icasa ruling because everyone knew what was happening at the SABC,” he said.
“Our concern is that the SABC ignored the principles [of non-censorship] and we expect them to ignore the ruling.
“They want to buy time to protect specific interests ahead of the upcoming elections.”
The union is representing eight SABC journalists who have either been suspended or are facing disciplinary proceedings.
Hermann said they are preparing to file a labour court interdict to ask for all disciplinary proceedings to be stayed until all legal challenges against the SABC are finalised.
“Pending all of these, the disciplinary proceedings must be stayed and the workers must go back to work,” Hermann added.
Motsoeneng meanwhile has vowed to “deal with” any employee disloyal to the public broadcaster.
This would be carried out through “Operation Clean Up”, he told reporters at the SABC’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday.
“We have realised that there are forces outside. They want to destabilise the organisation and also use internal people within the organisation and we are going to deal with them, especially with the people within the organisation.”
“We are not going to let anyone dictate to this organisation. We are here to lead. The reason why we are here is to lead and we are leading.
“No one is going to tell us what to do.”