Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Hlaudi Motsoeneng a no-show in court as the SABC dumps Hlaudi and Simon Tebele by refusing to further pay for their legal fees in SABC8 case.
The controversial former SABC chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng was a no-show in South Africa's Labour Court on Tuesday that left the South African public broadcaster's beleaguered former head of news Simon Tebele all on his own to explain to the judge that the SABC has refused to pay for his lawyers.
In the case, the trade union representing the so-called "SABC8" journalists who were fired and then court ordered to be reinstated, is arguing that Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Simon Tebele should be personally held liable for the court costs.
While Simon Tebele says it was he who is responsible for firing the 8 SABC journalists, Solidarity argues that it was done on Hlaudi Motsoeneng's orders.
Simon Tebele found out on Monday that the SABC will no longer be responsible for his legal representation.
Sandile July of Werksmans Attorneys on behalf of the SABC told the court that he also found out on Monday after the SABC's formal legal team from attorneys from Ningiza Horner who were representing the SABC two abruptly withdrew from the case on Friday.
No reasons were given for why Hlaudi Motsoeneng didn't appear in the Labour Court.
Simon Tebele asked for another postponement citing his "poor health".
Simon Tebele told the Labour Court that he "was in hospital from May to July and I went through a 7 hour operation. Even now I am still recuperating from heavy pain".
The SABC dumped Vuyo Mvoko who was a freelancer and who is now the co-anchor on eNCA's (DStv 403) prime time news, and fired Suna Venter who passed away recently from a broken heart, Foeta Krige, Krivani Pillay, Jacques Steenkamp, Thandeka Gqubule, Lukhanyo Calata and Busi Ntuli .
They were fired after they spoke out about the SABC's draconian news censorship practices abruptly instituted by the belligerent Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Solidarity's Anton van der Bijl said Hlaudi Motsoeneng is delaying the case and that the "SABC respondents continue to change their legal representation at the last minute, it's a delaying tactic."
"We still argue that Hlaudi Motsoeneng made the decision to dismiss the journalists and that is why we are still holding him personally accountable for the costs incurred."
Judge David Gush postponed the case to 6 September and ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Simon Tebele must be present on 6 September and that the case will proceed in their absence if they fail to appear on court next month.