The Gupta owned Television station did not follow correct procedures in dismissing journalist Asanda Magaqa and must therefore reinstate her.
“The dismissal of the applicant (Magaqa) was both procedurally and substantially unfair.”
These are the findings by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Infinity Media, ANN7 owner, was also ordered to backpay Magaqa an amount of R500 000, equivalent to ten months worth of her R50 000 salary.
Magaqa took her case to the CCMA following her much publicised dismissal from the Gupta family owned TV station on the 24th of November 2014.
The journalist claimed that her dismissal had been procedurally and substantively unfair and was seeking reinstatement without any loss of benefits.
Magaqa was dismissed for allegedly ‘assaulting a fellow employee’, ‘gross dishonesty’ and ‘gross insolence’.
The CCMA found that the evidence brought forward by Infimity Media showed that Magaqa was in fact dismissed for making ‘death’ threats to a colleague Grace Molatlhegi during her own hearing and not for the ‘cellphone assault’ charge.
Infinity Media claimed that Magaqa was dismissed because she assaulted and smashed the cellphone of the company’s assistant manager after she ‘shoved’ it in her face during a separate disciplinary hearing in which Magaqa was a representative.
The CCMA found that had the assistant manager felt assaulted, the disciplinary hearing could have been stopped to allow time to deal with the matter but it continued.
“Firstly, as testified by fellow employee Tshidi Molubi and the applicant (Magaqa), and this evidence was not disputed, is that after the incident the disciplinary hearing continued and was completed. At no stage was the disciplinary hearing adjourned because Coetzee (HR manger) was traumatized.
“Secondly, the applicant (Magaqa) lodged a grievance against Coetzee the same day for shoving the phone in her face. The respondent (Infinity Media) however charged the applicant for assault on 13 October 2014, some seven days later. One cannot help but conclude that the respondent was responding to the grievance laid by the applicant,” said the CCMA.
The CCMA further noted that even after Infinity Media laid charges of assault, Magaqa was not immediately dismissed, but she was only dismissed for the alleged threats to the company’s IR Practitioner Grace Molatlhegi and for allegedly leaking a story to the SundayWorld.
The dismissal of the applicant was both procedurally and substantively unfair
The respondent is ordered to retrospectively reinstate the applicant with no loss of benefits by with effect from the date of her dismissal – 24 November 2014.
The respondent is further ordered to pay the applicant an amount of R500 000 (Five hundred thousand rand) which is equivalent to ten months’ salary as back pay. (R50 000 x 10)
This order must be complied with no later that 19 October 2015