The Right2Know Campaign commends the SABC 8 for refusing to back down in the face of death threats, bullets and intimidation. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the secret war being waged on members of the SABC 8, the group of public broadcaster workers who have blown the whistle on censorship and mismanagement at the SABC.
The Sunday Times has reported a series of attacks and death threats on three of the SABC 8: Suna Venter, Foeta Krige and Busisiwe Ntuli. The list includes an incident in which Venter’s car came under bullet fire in a late-night shooting, a separate incident where her brake-wires were cut, a series of unexplained house break-ins, and threats sent via SMS demanding that the journalists drop their court case against the SABC or risk death. The Sunday Times reports that some of these messages may have been sent from the Auckland Park area.
The attacks on these whistleblowers suggest the crisis at the SABC is at the level of mafia politics. This is a pattern that we have seen before when individuals have the courage to speak out against those in power. The fact that these attacks have specifically targeted the women of the SABC 8 is particularly disturbing.
- We demand that SAPS offers full police protection to any of the affected individuals who request it.
- SAPS must double its investigation of these attacks and arrest the culprits. These attacks have been ongoing for months.
- To address the root causes of this intimidation, Parliament must take swift action and dissolve the SABC Board. Hlaudi Motsoeneng must be fired once and for all. SABC leadership must be rebuilt from the ground up, ensuring it is independent from government pressure and accountable to the public, and ensuring that it is a workplace that protects and celebrates internal dissent and debate.
We commend the SABC 8 for staying the course even under these circumstances, including pursuing their case in the Constitutional Court. We call on the public to come forward to support and defend these whistleblowers. Through their actions, they have risked their jobs and safety to tackle the crisis at the SABC, in the interests of all South Africans.
We encourage social media users to use the hashtag #IStandWithTheSABC8 – every effort to draw public attention to the abuse and intimidation is important. We will also investigate other solidarity actions that the public can support.