Warning recommended as SABC news head Magopeni found guilty of misconduct

23 December 2021 - 22:37
SABC head of news Phathiswa Magopeni. File photo.
SABC head of news Phathiswa Magopeni. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

SABC head of news Phathiswa Magopeni has been found guilty of misconduct after a disciplinary hearing for failing to prevent the broadcast, airing and publication of an interdicted Special Assignment episode.

Magopeni was accused of misconduct, negligence and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute. Other charges included failure to discharge her fiduciary duties.

According to an SABC news report, disciplinary hearing chairperson Nazeer Cassim ruled there was no evidence to suggest Magopeni deliberately defied an order of the court. He recommended that she be given a warning.

Magopeni refused to comment on the outcome of the hearing, saying she was not authorised to speak and referred questions to SABC corporate affairs.

SABC spokesperson Gugu Ntuli said: "As this is a matter between employer and employee there will be no comment from the SABC on the matter."

In his ruling, Casim said that based on the facts of the case he would recommend a warning.

However, he said Magopeni’s written argument as prepared by her lawyer "complicated matters" and cast Magopeni in a bad light.

Cassim said in the heads of argument prepared on behalf of Magopeni it was asserted that “the charges brought against the employee are a farce and done so hastily”.

Cassim said the board of the SABC must give Magopeni the opportunity to distance herself from that phrase as it would be unjust to punish her for a submission and opinion of her attorney.

“If, however, Ms Magopeni makes common case with the view of her attorney, then the board must in its discretion and decision-making power adopt a sanction which is consistent with that of a breakdown in the trust relationship between employer and employee.

“In short, it is now upon Ms Magopeni to decide her own future with the SABC,” Cassim said.

Ultimately, a sanction must be just and equitable to both employer and employee.

“This, however, is a decision that rests with the CEO and the board of the SABC."

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