Fired writer's case reaches labour court

20 May 2020 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Former Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) freelance writer and columnist Vitalio Angula's dismissal case is due to be heard in the labour court next month.

He will make his appearance on 17 June at the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

Angula saw his contract being terminated last year when he appeared on One Africa Television to air his views on the Fishrot scandal during that channel's It's A Wrap programme.

On the show, hosted by Erica Gebhardt, Angula said he had a problem with an Icelandic fishing company executive saying Africans were corruptible. He further accused Spanish fishing companies of illegally fishing in African waters, particularly those of Western Sahara.



Fishrot scandal

Icelandic fishing company Samherji stands accused of paying bribes in exchange for lucrative fishing rights.

The scandal has led to the high-profile resignations of former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala and former Investec CEO James Hatuikulipi. Angula maintains he did not require any consent to air his views and that his contract was terminated unlawfully.

“I am a freelance journalist. What is stopping me? I was never introduced as a Nampa employee, but as an independent analyst,” Angula said in a recent sit-down with Namibian Sun.



Risked agency's reputation

In a letter to Angula last November, Nampa's head of editorial services Jata Kazondu wrote that the agency's editorial policy stance had been compromised by his appearance on the broadcast. “You have risked the agency's reputation by taking part in a highly controversial nationally discussed show,” the letter read. Angula had been informed that no requests to participate in public debates would be entertained, it stated.

“Your participation in the show was without the prerequisite permission from the news editor or myself, which was a matter that was discussed extensively with you at the coming into force of your stringer contract.

“I have previously warned you several times not to take part in such or similar discussions because of your attachment to the agency,” Kazondu wrote.

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