Thursday, 30 April 2009

DJ S’bu’s suspension disgustingly unlawful?

Although one is not a fan let alone a listener to YFM radio station - it was with a disappointment and regret that one came across story in Sowetan print edition of 21st April 2009 that one of its radio anchors - DJ S‘bu - was suspended.

Unimaginably stupid (no offence), the reason(s) for the suspension as described by S’bu in the report make(s) no imaginable sense at all nor is it close to making any sense.

YFM said my standing next to Jacob Zuma might have legal implications for the station with the Independent Broadcasting Authority of South Africa. They insisted that it would be seen as if I was endorsing Zuma” S’bu told the newspaper.

So what if you were endorsing him or worse, voting for the African National Congress he happens to be a president to and likely president of South Africa within 7 days after the 22 April? I ask.

Assuming and not proving grounds for dismissal
As disappointed as S’bu is reported to be - and so is his suspension I must say! – the poor radio anchor was suspended because he was seen standing next to ANC president Jacob Zuma. “I was not aware that I was on TV, let alone standing next to Jacob Zuma, until people started calling me. I was, however, shocked to get an urgent call on Sunday night telling me that I was off air until after elections”.

YFM should have known better and done the following “procedurally and substantively” in determining whether S‘bu‘s “standing next to Zuma” - deliberately or not - warranted a dismissal:

  1. Was S’bu’ “standing next to Zuma” an offence?
  2. As an offence, was it (“standing next to Zuma” or any other political party leader before, especially before 2009 general election) communicated to S’bu and in time?
  3. Was S’bu aware that such an offence on his part would result in summary dismissal (immediate dismissal with or without a hearing)?

Taking the above in to account, according to South Africa labour law, the S’bu’s dismissal would have been procedurally and substantively fair which mean S’bu as an employee would not stand a chance in challenging such a dismissal in a court of law because it would have been lawful.

However, if the above three steps, and hopefully others, did not apply, then S’bu’s dismissal would have been unlawful because such measures were not taken into consideration when his suspension was effect by the employer concerned.

NB: The above would only apply if S’bu as an employee does not fall under the Labour Relations Act, but falls under certain legislations which cover only the sectors which S’bu as an employee is employed under.

Personally, whoever decided on the suspension should have tested this ‘theory’ first before giving the wrong impression as s/he already has – that S’bu’s suspension seemed ill-considered, harshly done and somewhat unfairly reckless.

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