In the statement, publisher Eureka Zandberg told staff: “The Citizen newspaper has terminated the employment contract of its editor, Mr Steven Motale, with immediate effect.
“Mr Motale was suspended from his duties earlier this month, pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary process. The Citizen contended that the failure of Mr Motale to follow agreed-upon editorial procedures and to uphold his editorial duties led to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence between the editor and the publisher of the newspaper.
“The Citizen concurs with the finding against Motale, that his ongoing employment at The Citizen has become untenable, as a result of this trust breakdown, which was solely due to Motale’s actions and failure to follow procedures.
“This matter was not about the stories that were published in The Citizen. On the contrary, The Citizen upholds the highest standards of editorial freedom and fully endorses the editorial prerogative to determine what is and is not published.”
Mr Motale has previously told The Citizen that he intends to dispute his suspension/dismissal legally.
I was today dismissed as editor of The Citizen without any hearing. My legal team is handling the matter.
— Steve Motale (@SteveMotale) November 28, 2016
Last week, a number of groups, including a Cosatu union, the Forum of Journalists for Transformation, small political parties Black First Land First, Patriotic Alliance and the Pan Africanist Congress, as well as the Congress of SA Students, mounted a march of about 100 people to the newspaper’s offices to demand the reinstatement of Mr Motale, along with a number of other demands contained in their memorandum.