Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
24 Dec 2021
10:50 am

SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni found guilty of misconduct

Thapelo Lekabe

Advocate Nazir Cassim found Phathiswa Magopeni guilty on only one of the three charges levelled against her.

SABC group executive of news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni. Picture: Gallo Images

The SABC’s group executive of news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, has been found guilty of misconduct for failing to stop the broadcast of an interdicted episode of the SABC’s current affairs programme, Special Assignment.  

Magopeni faced three charges, which included failure to discharge her fiduciary duties, and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute, at an internal disciplinary hearing headed by Advocate Nazir Cassim.

The hearing started last week in Sandton, Johannesburg, and wrapped up its proceedings on Thursday.

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The SABC news boss was charged over the broadcast of an episode of Special Assignment, which was aired in October, in contravention of an interdict issued by the Pretoria High Court.

SABC Group Chief Executive Officer Madoda Mxakwe accused Magopeni of failing to ensure that the episode was not aired in accordance with the court order, but she maintained that the episode was mistakenly aired. Magopeni also argued that the show was on the video entertainment platform, and therefore she could not authorise its removal from the system.  

According to a SABC News report, advocate Cassim found Magopeni guilty on only one of the three charges levelled against her.

Cassim ruled that there was no evidence to suggest that she had deliberately defied the court interdict and recommended that she must be given a warning by the SABC board.

In a letter addressed to the SABC board, dated 29 November 2021, Magopeni claimed that the Special Assignment issue was being used to “hound” her out of the public broadcaster even though she was not responsible for the airing of the programme.

She reportedly accused Mxakwe and SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini of allegedly putting pressure on her to approve an unscheduled interview with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa in the lead-up to last month’s local government elections.

Magopeni apparently refused the request from her bosses and got into hot water over the issue.

She claimed the Special Assignment error, her refusal to agree to the Ramaphosa interview, and a subsequent complaint from the ANC about the SABC’s election coverage, were being used to get rid of her.

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