Ex-Citizen editor stands by his actions
FORMER editor of The Citizen, Steven Motale, said all the decisions he took while editor were correct and he stands by them despite the publication dismissing him last year.
But Tim Bruinders, defence advocate for The Citizen, labelled Motale’s actions as “juvenile”.
Motale came under fire last year after publishing a letter apologising to President Jacob Zuma over how the media had reported on him. He was also criticised for publishing other controversial articles involving high-profile personalities.
Motale was dismissed with no disciplinary hearing after The Citizen management insisted he had failed to follow procedure.
Motale’s legal team took the matter to the Labour Court in Joburg in an urgent application to challenge his dismissal yesterday.
Motale’s advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, said the role of an editor was vital and without one it was impossible for a publication to run as it should.
After the proceedings, Motale told The Star there was no policy at The Citizen regarding highprofile individuals and therefore his dismissal was uncalled for.
“No policy is required in relation to high-profile individuals because principles of journalistic integrity are universally applicable,” said Motale.
Thampelo Kharametsane, the attorney for Motale, said Motale had wanted a disciplinary hearing but was denied one.
“He had always wanted his disciplinary hearing to be conducted and he was unfortunately denied it. We believe that we made a very good case before the court regarding the failure of The Citizen to conduct the disciplinary hearing.” Motale’s legal team remains adamant that his termination was not only unlawful but there was interference in his job as an editor.
Bruinders, however, said the publication lost faith in Motale after he made his controversial decisions.
“Why should the employer not terminate your contract after you accused them of being racist? Trust and faith no longer exist in the employee from the employer,” said Bruinders.
The defence argued that whether the policy was unconstitutional or not, this should not be a disciplinary case.
“What the respondent did was against the policy. If this is unconstitutional or not, it is not a case about disciplinary,” said Bruinders. Judgment was reserved.