SABC dismisses Head of News Magopeni

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has fired News and Current Affairs Group Executive Phathiswa Magopeni citing a breakdown of trust.

Following the SABC’s breach of the South Gauteng High Court Order dated 14 September 2021, the Corporation instituted disciplinary proceedings, in line with its Disciplinary Code, against Magopeni for her alledged role.

“An open and transparent disciplinary hearing chaired by Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC was held in public on 17, 20 and 21 December 2021.  Ms Magopeni was found guilty of misconduct for failure to take appropriate measures to ensure that the Court Order was complied with,” says the corporation in a statement.

According to the broadcaster, Advocate Cassim SC recommended that Magopeni be given a sanction of a warning.

“However, if Ms Magopeni made common cause with the remarks as set out in the heads of argument submitted on her behalf, the SABC should, in its discretion and decision-making power, adopt a sanction which is consistent with that of a breakdown in the trust relationship between employer and employee. “

The SABC says Magopeni was afforded an opportunity to submit mitigating factors and to address aggravating factors identified by the SABC.

“After several requests for extensions, instead of taking up the opportunity to submit her mitigating factors and distance herself from the remarks in, amongst other things, the heads of argument submitted on her behalf, she elected not to submit her mitigating factors. Thus, she waived her right to do so. In the absence Ms Magopeni’s mitigating factors, the SABC concluded that there is a breakdown in the trust relationship between her and the SABC.”

The SABC says Magopeni’s services have been terminated with immediate effect:

The South African National Editors Forum, (Sanef) says they are shocked by the SABC’s decision to dismiss Magopeni

“It’s quite an unfortunate incident and we have just received the news of the dismissal and we will study the dismissal letter sent by the Group CEO and we will certainly take the matter from there on and I think this whole thing has been quite unfair on Phathiswa and we will take this on review,” says Sanef’s Reggie Moalusi.