SABC axes two more journalists

Last night, it emerged that termination letters had been handed to four suspended journalists.

Journalists and people from the media industry gathered outside the SABC in Auckland Park, dressed in black, in support of the national broadcaster's journalists who were suspended for raising concerns about policy changes. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation ( SABC) has fired two more journalists for speaking up against its editorial policies.

Media Monitoring Africa has confirmed six journalists in total have now been dismissed.

Busisiwe Ntuli and Lukhanyo Calata were dismissed this morning, while termination letters were handed to Krivani Pillay, Voeta Krige, Suna Venter and Jacques Steenkamp last night.

There are reports, however, that all eight have now received letters terminating their employment, including Vuyo Mvoko and Thandeka Gqubule.

The fallout was sparked by a decision to stop showing footage of state property being destroyed during protests, a decision widely seen as censorship.

Media Monitoring's William Bird said, "It's clear SABC is not only acting with poor judgement here but it is pure vengeance. It is profoundly, profoundly unfortunate."

The eight journalists were targeted for questioning controversial editorial policies driven largely by the corporation's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The broadcaster is yet to comment on the latest developments.

WATCH: Suspended journalists turn to Constitutional Court

They also spoke out about the low morale in the newsroom.

The SABC said yesterday it wouldn't be commenting publicly on the dismissals.

Last night, media freedom organisations said the dismissal of the journalists was an indication of growing censorship which was last seen during apartheid.

Earlier this month, Icasa ruled against the SABC's decision and gave it seven days to respond in writing about the reversal of its censorship policy.

All eight journalists are turning to the Labour Court to try and overrule the SABC's decision about their jobs.


Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says the SABC journalists who have been fired for insubordination have the law on their side, as well as the public's support.

The opposition party held a picket outside Parliament today to protest against the axing of journalists who have spoken out about censorship at the public broadcaster.

The party wants Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications to convene an urgent meeting to address what it deems the "governance crisis at the SABC".

DA Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme, a member of the Portfolio Committee responsible for oversight of the SABC, says, "Our memorandum is directed to the ANC Chief Whip because in terms of the rules of Parliament, if a meeting is held of a committee outside of a Parliament session, approval has to be sought from Chief Whip of the majority."

She says the committee must intervene without delay.

"Part of our demands is that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended, and an inquiry be held into his fitness to hold office and that the SABC board must also be suspended."

DA supporters wearing party colours held placards urging Parliament to deal with the problems at the public broadcaster.

Only Parliament can reel in Hlaudi and the SABC! #SABCcensorship

#SABC DA protest outside Parliament this morning. RE