Reports that the so-called ‘SABC 8’ continue to be subjected to intimidation and death threats are cause for serious concern‚ the Democratic Alliance says‚ adding that the journalists involved should be given police protection.
According to media reports‚ the eight outspoken journalists are living in fear following a series of sinister incidents and death threats aimed at forcing them to drop their court action against the public broadcaster.
In September‚ the SABC 8 advised the Constitutional Court that they intend persisting with their court action because a culture of censorship and fear in the SABC’s newsrooms persists‚ despite their reinstatement after being suspended for speaking up against alleged censorship by the public broadcaster.
“It is quite clear that high-powered individuals with interest in the outcome of the court case are behind the death threats‚” DA spokesperson on communications Phumzile Van Damme asserted on Sunday.
“As such‚ the DA will be writing to the Acting National Police Commissioner‚ Khomotso Phahlane requesting that the SABC 8 be given police protection until the court case is finalised‚” she added.
Van Damme said that when the Ad Hoc Committee on the SABC meets for the first time on Tuesday‚ the DA will insist that the parliamentary inquiry into the SABC take place this year still.
“Parliament cannot go into recess with such serious governance issues plaguing the public broadcaster unresolved.
“We will also continue with our court action to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng removed from the SABC. The case will be heard on 23 and 24 November 2016‚” Van Damme stated.
Motsoeneng is the controversial former chief operating officer of the public broadcaster. Despite his appointment being set aside by the courts‚ the SABC board reappointed him as a general executive.
Van Damme said it was a sad day when journalists were intimidated for fighting for the constitutional right to report the news without fear and intimidation.
“All of South Africa should be outraged by the terrorising of our journalists‚” she added.