SABC takes another blow 

CCMA orders SABC to pay ex-Tru FM station manager

Just after receiving a R2.1-billion bailout from the government, the SABC has been ordered by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to pay a former station manager a cool R1-million for unfair dismissal.

According to CCMA documents, former Tru FM station manager Thobeka Buswana, pictured, was fired by SABC head of provinces and stakeholder relations Leuba Ramakgolo, and Eastern Cape acting provincial GM Phumzile Mnci, on claims she attended last year’s Grahamstown National Arts Festival without approval.

However, after being slapped with four charges, among them dishonesty, insubodination, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and contravening the delegation of authority policy of the SABC, which she was found guilty of, Buswana challenged her dismissal at the CCMA.

Her win came after Mnci, who was the key witness in the matter, changed his testimony at the CCMA.

According to the documents, Mnci told the commissioner he had approved the expenditure and business plan presented to him by Buswana.

The CCMA ruled that though the process to dismiss her was procedurally fair, it was substantively unfair.

To add insult to injury, the public broadcaster has also lost an internal disciplinary hearing against a senior official in the COO’s office, Carmen Schneider, on charges related to those faced by former COO Chris Maroleng.

Schneider was suspended following allegations that she irregularly accepted a R13 000 monthly allowance offered to her by Maroleng despite not being entitled to such an incentive after her secondment to the COO’s office.

This, according to the SABC, had happened while there was a clear directive to ensure that her contract remained unchanged.

But the SABC lost its case at the disciplinary hearing chaired by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. The law firm cleared Schneider of all four charges, and ordered that she be reinstated to her position.

Spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu declined to comment.

By Aubrey Mothombeni

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