THE Communication Workers Union has demanded the immediate reinstatement of suspended SABC3 news anchor Mahendra Raghunath.
"His suspension is a continuation of the Snukification of the SABC news division by both the acting head of news, Phil Molefe, and SABC TV news head Amrit Manga," said CWU spokesperson Matankana Mothapo. He was referring to the controversial previous head of news, Snuki Zikalala.
"Raghunath was suspended for speaking the truth," Mothapo said yesterday. Raghunath was suspended by Manga for allegedly disclosing problems at the channel's newsroom to The Sunday Independent newspaper.
Mothapo said this showed that Molefe and Manga were "intolerant and abuse their positions of authority to silence and victimise workers".
Raghunath's hearing at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has been set for April 16.
"Failure by the broadcaster to heed our calls reinforce the suspicion that the SABC news was being bullied to pursue certain sectarian agendas similar to the ones pursued during the era of Snuki Zikalala," Mothapo said.
He also demanded a public explanation of the deliberate sidelining of labour and civil society in two key debates recently broadcast on SABC current affairs programme Asikhulume. These debates concerned the militarisation of police and land reform.
"This is not surprising given that the acting head of news, Phil Molefe, is a carbon copy of Snuki Zikalala, who hated labour." Mothapo called for the appointment of a permanent head of news through a transparent and open process.
The SABC could not be reached for comment. - Sapa