The public broadcaster’s legal team told the hearing that Magopeni should take the rap for never apologising to those who were wronged by the court-interdicted Special Assignment show being broadcast.
SABC head of news Phathiswa Magopeni’s disciplinary inquiry kicked off on Friday with the testimony of the public broadcaster’s legal guru, advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.
Magopeni is charged with negligence and bringing the SABC into disrepute after the airing of a Special Assignment feature that had been subject to a court interdict.
The public broadcaster’s legal team told the hearing, which sat in Sandton and is chaired by Nazeer Cassim SC, that Magopeni should take the rap for never apologising to those who were wronged by the show being broadcast.
The broadcast took place on October 26, more than a month after a court interdict issued on September 14.
Vanara told the inquiry that it took the intervention of the CEO Madoda Mxakwe for an apology to be made for disregarding the court interdict.
“The apology comes from the group CEO because having explained the consequences of what had transpired, he asked what is the worst case scenario and I explained to him,” said Vanara.
“How then do we mitigate the adverse consequences of this thing, he asked me. Then I said we need to apologise.”
Vanara also told the inquiry how after learning of the breach on October 26, he tried in vain to call Magopeni to alert her, since all content classified as news fell under her responsibility.
This after Vanara had received a call from Werkmans Attorneys to say that its client was livid that the SABC had breached a court interdict.
When he could not get hold of Magopeni, he sent her WhatsApp messages to which she responded but was also in the dark that an interdicted news feature had been aired.
Vanara added that it then took his initiative and that of Mxakwe to clean up the mess.
The inquiry will continue on Monday morning with several other witnesses lined up, despite Cassim’s wish to finish in a day to save public funds.