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Former SABC head of news and current affairs Phathiswa Magopeni. File picture: VELI NHLAPO.
Former SABC head of news and current affairs Phathiswa Magopeni. File picture: VELI NHLAPO.

The SABC has responded to its Twitter account’s blocking of former group executive of news Phathiswa Magopeni on social media, saying the action was “unauthorised”. 

Magopeni was blocked from the SABC Twitter account this week and shared a screenshot with the caption “public news service”. 

The blocking caused a buzz online, with many questioning it.

In a statement, the SABC said it did not know how the incident happened and would launch an investigation into the matter. It said the former news head was unblocked immediately the SABC learnt of the incident.

“The SABC has no policy authorising any employee to block users from the public broadcaster’s accounts or platforms. We wish to state for the record it has not issued any directive to block Ms Magopeni from its platforms. Upon learning of this unfortunate incident, the corporation immediately unblocked its former employee,” it said.

“The SABC has reached out to Magopeni explaining the facts of the matter and profusely apologised for this unfortunate incident.

“The matter is under investigation as this account is managed by multiple individuals within the news division. Following the investigation, the SABC will institute the consequence management process as this conduct is contrary to its policies.”

The SABC fired Magopeni with immediate effect in January after a disciplinary hearing found her guilty of misconduct for failing to prevent the broadcast, airing and publication of an interdicted Special Assignment episode.

“You are kindly requested to hand in all SABC property in your possession to the office of the group executive: human resources by 12pm on January 31,” read a letter sent to Magopeni by SABC group CEO Madoda Mxakwe.

Magopeni said she took issue with the findings against her and would challenge the broadcaster at the appropriate time and forum.

“We are going to challenge the unfair dismissal, going back to how the disciplinary process was constituted in the first place to how it was managed throughout. The whole thing was flawed throughout,” she told the Sunday Times.

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