The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

AN affidavit filed by the SABC in response to a ruling by the Labour Court regarding the dismissal of journalists has been labelled as vague and unconvincing.

The broadcaster filed an affidavit on Tuesday ahead of a deadline set by the court for Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane and Simon Tebele to explain why they should not be held personally responsible for the cost of the Labour Court action taken by trade union Solidarity to get four journalists reinstated. The court ruled the affidavit should be submitted by August 2.

The journalists were fired in July for protesting against a ban on the reporting of violent protests, and the Labour Court ordered them to be reinstated.

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, said it was stated in the affidavits that Tebele made the decision to dismiss the journalists but no clear explanation was given as to why the decision was made. "Instead of putting direct and pertinent evidence before court, the sworn affidavits only contain very vague assertions," he said.

A source close to the case, who declined to be named, said the affidavit was unconvincing and palpably failed to tackle the central issue, which was to go ahead and dismiss the journalists at a time that there was a case before the Labour Court seeking their reinstatement.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago declined to comment on the Solidarity statement, saying the court had requested the two managers to supply the information and not Solidarity, so he would not respond to their views on the affidavit.