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Phil Molefe takes SABC to court

SABC editor Phil Molefe will take the SABC to court on Friday to challenge his suspension.

The SABC office block in Aukland Park. Picture: Tshepo Lesole/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt that suspended editor Phil Molefe was told he was suspended because an interview with Julius Malema was broadcasted.

Molefe will go to court on Friday to challenge the decision to place him on special leave.

He will say an instruction to forward the daily news diary to the company's CEO amounted to an attempt to interfere in editorial decisions.

Molefe in his legal papers said complaints had been made by unnamed sources that the programme 'Interface' had broadcasted an interview with Malema without having a representative of the ANC.

He said the ANC had been asked to participate, but had declined.

Molefe also said that Malema was a newsworthy individual who had just been named Newsmaker of The Year for 2011.

He also said the CEO of the SABC then requested a copy of the daily news diary.

But Molefe said he declined the instruction because it would have amounted to interference.

Metro FM

The court action falls on the heels of the public broadcaster pulling the plug of a Metro FM show.

On Tuesday, Samina Kamwendo was instructed to call-off an interview with Business Day journalist Sam Mkokeli, the Sunday Times' S'thembiso Msomi and Financial Times bureau editor Andrew England on her 'Road to Mangaung' radio feature.

In September, Kamwendo was also due to interview expelled ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema during his tour of mines, but the ANC renegade apparently received a message from her saying that management at the public broadcaster told her to can the interview.

The SABC said the ANC should have been invited to participate to keep it balanced.