While the country awaits to hear if the Labour Court will rule in favour of four axed SABC journalists who argued to be reinstated last week, three more are preparing to begin their battle.
Lukhanyo Calata, Busisiwe Ntuli and Thandeka Gqubule, will be represented by trade union BEMAWU in the Labour Court this Thursday. The three are part of the SABC 8 who were fired by the public broadcaster last week.
BEMAWAU was originally representing Calata and Ntuli and recently added Gqubule.
The union had originally hoped to join Solidarity in court on Friday, but only managed to file its court papers on the day, pushing their case to Thursday.
BEMAWU spokesperson, Hannes du Buisson , told htxt.africa that their case would be similar to the one presented by Solidarity and the four it represented, except for a few factors that could possibly make their case a little stronger.
Ntuli co-wrote a separate letter addressed to SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with fellow axed colleagues Jacques Steenkamp and Krivani Pillay, saying the “SABC newsroom has become a source of derision, despair and criticism”.
Shortly after writing the letter, the three were then also charged. Calata and Ntuli were given until 28th July to answer to the charges but were fired before they could respond.
Gqubule was among the first journalists to be suspended on 24th June.
“If you recall, in the instance of Lukhanyo and Busi, they were granted until the 28th July to answer as the SABC gave them a Schedule Eight [dismissal in terms of the Labour Relations Act] letter and they didn’t respond, there was just a blanket denial,” du Buisson said.
“We then wrote a letter to the SABC asking them to explain to us exactly what this letter means, because it was foreign letter, we’ve never seen them writing a letter like this as they’ve always either followed a pre-dismissal arbitration or an internal disciplinary hearing.”
Below is the dismissal letter sent to the journalists.
And a 6th journalist fired. Here’s Lukhanyo Calata’s letter of dismissal. Dismissed for “disrespect[ing] the SABC”. pic.twitter.com/6s1aJopV7d
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) July 19, 2016
Mr du Buisson added that BEMAWU believes that on the basis that the SABC fired the journalists before they could respond, they have an even stronger case than the Solidarity four.
“Most of the arguments that they’ve [Solidarity] used, we will also use in our case but there’s this additional factor. We are absolutely confident that the court must rule in our favour, if they don’t then there’s no justice,” he said.