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Monday, July 31, 2017

Former eNCA reporter Nontobeko Sibisi challenging her 'unfair' firing, case will be heard at CCMA on Tuesday.


The former eNCA (DStv 403) reporter Nontobeko Sibisi who was fired after she was found guilty of being dishonest and having compromised the TV news channel's editorial integrity over a free trip to the Cape Town Jazz Festival earlier this year is taking her alleged unfair dismissal fight to the CCMA.

TVwithThinus was first to report that eNCA fired Nontobeko Sibisi on 1 June after finding her guilty of journalistic lapses.

After she was fired in June, Nontobeko Sibisi will now be at the CCMA on Tuesday, 2 August in an alleged unfair dismissal case against eNCA with her lawyers, Haffegee, Roskam & Savage Attorneys challenging her dismissal on procedural and substantive grounds.

Nontobeko Sibisi was one of eNCA's youngest reporters and primarily focused on the entertainment and infotainment beat. eNCA took away her cellphone and she had to leave the building at the channel's Hyde Park headquarters.

Nontobeko Sibisi's axing came a year after eNCA was plunged into scandal after she lashed out eNCA's "self-censorship" in an open letter and said a story of hers about Africa Day was allegedly canned because she was wearing the traditional African head dress known as a "doek" which at the time was against eNCA's on-air policy.

eNCA said at the time the story was shelved because of other editorial problems with it but didn't specify what was wrong. The resulting bad publicity forced the eMedia Investments TV channel to relook its on-air news reporter appearance policy and also laid bare internal staff acrimony within eNCA ranks.

In a statement about Nontobeko Sibisi case that led to her firing two months ago, the journalist says her eNCA line-managers knew about the Cape Town Jazz Festival invitation and intended coverage a month prior to it happening and that she was only notified for the first time about concerns four days before the trip.

"Nontobeko Sibisi's actions were not inconsistent to any other approved free trip undertaken - her editors were well aware of her trips," says the statement.

"The company also pointed out concerns relating to indemnity forms filled out by Sibisi, alleging she 'promised' estimated content outcomes by signing indemnity forms stipulating that she will be 'producing inserts and live presence depending on resources' - this is now being viewed as signing away editorial independence, even though this was also discussed with managers, not mentioning the three line managers who all had access to the indemnity forms and trip details."

"Sibisi was accused of lying and misrepresenting company policy by saying to organisers the company has a rule of not sharing rooms with colleagues - the company dies this standard practice, saying its not explicitly written down as policy - as if to say sharing rooms with working professionals is regular practice, of which Sibisi has never been subjected to."

"It's further alleged, Sibisi omitted disclosing that a video editor had already been accredited himself for the trip - even though that video editor was given permission by his respective line manager, going so far as to amend his roster to make him available - why and how is that being overlooked?"