On 15 July, the SABC 8 launched an urgent application for direct access to the Constitutional Court.
On 18 and 19 July 2016, the SABC proceeded to dismiss seven members of the SABC 8. They did so summarily, without engaging in disciplinary hearings.
In light of these developments, Norton Rose Fulbright, acting on behalf of the SABC 8, has served a supplementary affidavit in the SABC 8’s urgent application for direct access to the Constitutional Court. They are also now seeking to declare the decisions of the SABC in the past few days to dismiss the majority of the applicants to be unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.
In the supplementary affidavit, the SABC 8 highlight that prior to the termination notices referred to in the papers having been delivered by the SABC, their attorneys drew the attention of the SABC to the fact that any attempt to proceed with the disciplinary proceedings against them in the face of the Constitutional Court application would be unlawful and amount to constructive contempt of court.
The SABC 8 have contended that:
- The SABC was under a duty not to impede or frustrate their ability to obtain effective relief from the Constitutional Court;
- The SABC failed to comply with its obligations to respect, promote and fulfil the constitutional rights of access to courts and effective remedies set out in sections 34 and 38 of the Constitution;
- The SABC failed to comply with the duty imposed on it in terms of section 165(4) of the Constitution to assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts;
- The SABC has shown no respect for the Constitutional Court and the dismissals appear calculated to frustrate and impede the ability of the SABC 8 to obtain relief from the Constitutional Court;
- The dismissals demonstrate that the previous public threat by Mr Motsoeneng to engage in “Operation Clean-Up” was not an idle one and the SABC appears intent on removing from the SABC news-room any journalist who dared to disagree with management;
- Unless the Constitutional Court intervenes, the SABC 8 fear that there will be an end to any meaningful dissent at the SABC, no matter how important the issue;
- The SABC officials involved in the decisions to dismiss should be ordered personally to pay the costs on a punitive scale.
For further information please contact:
Rachel Lailey, Content manager, Africa
Tel +27 11 685 8624 | Mob +27 83 730 2000
Claire Marais, Communications officer, Africa
Tel +27 11 685 8565 | Mob +27 82 813 6909
Notes for editors:
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