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SACP calls on SABC staff to stand in solidarity with axed journalists

Seven journalists have been axed for misconduct and another staffer’s contract was terminated this week.

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.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Communist Party (SACP) has called on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) employees to stand in solidarity with journalists who've been fired after speaking out against censorship at the broadcaster.

Seven journalists have been axed for misconduct and another staffer's contract was terminated this week.

The SACP's Solly Mapaila led a picket outside the SABC's offices in Sea Point yesterday and said: "We know that the SABC board continues to permit Hlaudi Motsoeneng to illegally occupy the office of chief operations officer in breach of a binding recommendation by the Public Protector and of the findings of the Western Cape High Court."

In termination letters, the corporation accused the sacked journalists of undermining the broadcaster's management.

The journalists are now taking their fight to the Labour Court.

HIGH COURT RULING

Lawyers representing the eight SABC journalists who have asked the Constitutional Court to intervene in the crisis at the broadcaster say yesterday's High Court ruling will strengthen their case.

Yesterday, the SABC agreed to a settlement with the Helen Suzman Foundation, which asked the court to order the corporation not to institute its ban on images of destructive protests until the second part of the case is heard.

Under the settlement, the SABC is not allowed to implement any policy that would prevent the broadcast of images of protests or other events in a bid to protect any political party or to protect the image of the president.

The journalists' attorney, Aslam Moosajee, said he had written to the public broadcaster.

"I'd invite them, in view of the latest court order this morning, to withdraw the termination notices and to let me know when my clients can go back to work"

Additional reporting by Stephen Grootes.