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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Another SABC staff member accuses boss of physical assault, open assault case at police; a 'humanitarian crisis inside SABC,' says Mwasa.


Another SABC staff member is accusing an SABC boss of alleged assault as the hearing into alleged assault by against another top SABC executive, the SABC's head of news Jimi Matthews, is finally set to take place today and tomorrow, 7 and 8 July, with the hearing chaired by the public broadcaster's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

In the incident report filed by an SABC staffer who is a logistics manager for a province and seen by TV with Thinus, the staffer details how, on 29 June this year, the provincial manager, whose name is known but withheld, came to his office.

This is when the SABC staffer, a senior worker at the public broadcaster, says he was "kicked and pushed into the office" by an SABC boss, "yelling and swearing at me. He grabbed the squeeze bottle that was on my table full of water and sprayed it over me and documents that were on my desk. I screamed 'No [name withheld] don't do that,' trying to stop him".

An HR manager and a SABC radio station manager heard the nose and came to see what was happening and one tried to defuse the situation, as the person, according to the staffer, "kept shouting, poking and saying he was sent from head office to come and fix this provincial office".

The staffer says he was tasked to make sure that the right equipment for broadcasting was delivered for president Jacob Zuma's address and release of the Farlam Report into the Marikana massacre.

"I was so scared and in a great shock; I couldn't believe what I experienced on that afternoon. He even said in front of my colleagues who were trying to calm him down that he will not apologise for what was happening."

"I was so emotional that I even ended up crying in front of three colleagues. I then went to Sunnyside police station and opened a common assault case which I will withdraw because I trust that SABC processes will be able to resolve this matter fairly. I also went to hospital and reported injury on duty. The doctor checked me on the same day and my next appointment will be on 13 July".

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago was asked for comment from the SABC on the alleged assault case and what the SABC wants to say or explain about the incident but didn't respond to a media enquiry.

Today and tomorrow the long-delayed hearing into another alleged SABC assault case will finally be taking place, 5 months after it allegedly happened.

A female SABC worker laid a charge of assault at the South African Police Service and at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) against the SABC's head of news Jimi Matthews. after an incident which allegedly took place during the SABC's coverage of president Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address on 12 February.

The woman, in charge of the SABC's outside broadcasting staff, who laid the charge at Cape Town Central Police Station, alleges that she was physically assaulted as well as verbally and psychologically attacked by Jimi Matthews.

The SABC staffer alleges that she was "was victimised, harassed and assaulted verbally, physically and psychologically by a male executive manager following a technical glitch beyond her control or that of the crew she supervised".

Tuwani Gumani, general secretary of the Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) tells TV with Thinus that attacks on SABC staff will not go unanswered.

The "public view of the SABC remains that of a clueless, mismanaged national entity lurching from one disaster or crisis to another, the leadership of the SABC, in particular the COO, has persistently strived to create a curious veneer of harmony, an ambiance of goodwill, a picture of a healthy utopian community even under controversy-prone ministerial, board and executive leadership."

"The experiences of ordinary members in the employ of the SABC point to a humanitarian crisis inside the broadcaster. Stress levels must have hit the upper limits for senior managers to resort to physical violence on company premises and on company time," says Tuwani Gumani.