Sanef strikes out at SABC’s decision to sack Magopeni as head of news

The South African National Editors Forum slammed the SABC’s decision to fire Phathiswa Magopeni as head of news.

FILE: SABC head of news and current affairs Pathiswa Magopeni. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) slammed the SABC’s decision to fire Phathiswa Magopeni as head of news.

Sanef responded in a statement alluding that Magopeni’s dismissal came before a panel had adjudicated serious allegations that she made against two top executives at the SABC.

READ: SABC's head of news Phathiswa Magopeni fired

It said Magopeni contended she was sacked because she refused to take instructions from SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini.

The pair allegedly forced Magopeni to set up interviews with ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa during last year’s local government elections campaign, which mounted to editorial interference.

Sanef said this pattern needed to be condemned as it made a mockery of labour laws and associated processes.

It added an environment where people could be fired following political interference, led to self-censorship and restrains journalists from the freedom they need to do their jobs.

Last month, the SABC held a disciplinary hearing where it was found Magopeni was responsible for the airing of an interdicted Special Assignment episode.

The SABC fired Magopeni, saying she failed to submit mitigating factors following recommendations after the disciplinary hearing.