Former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the former head of news Simon Tebele have been refused leave to appeal a Labour Court ruling instructing them to personally pay for the legal costs involving the dismissal of the so-called SABC 8, union Solidarity said on Tuesday.
“Solidarity has made it clear many a time that it would not rest until Motsoeneng and Tebele have paid the money in their personal capacity as ordered by the court,” head of Solidarity’s centre for fair labour practices Anton Van der Bijl said.
“Hlaudi is painting himself into a corner in an attempt to evade justice,” he said, adding that the pair’s attempt to appeal was dismissed with costs.
The SABC withdrew its attorneys from representing the duo after they were dragged to the Labour Court for wrongful dismissal of senior SABC journalists. The eight journalists, dubbed the “SABC 8”, were fired after they challenged the broadcaster’s controversial editorial policies and compared the ban of broadcasting violent protests to censorship.
Seven of the eight journalists were later reinstated after the labour court ruled that the dismissals were unlawful. Motsoeneng claimed he was acting in accordance with the SABC policy and was within his rights as the COO to support the banning of broadcasting protests.
Solidarity and the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU), who assisted the journalists, were adamant that Motsoeneng and Tebele should be held responsible for their legal costs. The court agreed with Solidarity and BEMAWU and ordered the defendants to pay the costs.