News24

Sanef: Hit list outrageous

2010-01-19 18:04

Johannesburg - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has expressed outrage at reports that journalists are on a hit list targeting corruption busters in Mpumalanga.

"The murder and threatened murder of potential witnesses and journalists puts a nasty twist to South Africa's struggle against corruption," Sanef said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Sunday World reported on January 10 that two people had been assassinated so far for blowing the whistle on corruption in the building of the R1bn Mbombela Stadium, a venue for the Fifa World Cup.

Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala was shot dead outside his house in KaNyamazane, outside Nelspruit, in January last year.

Mpumalanga arts and culture department communication director Sammy Mpatlanyane was shot dead in his house in Nelspruit on January 8 this year.

Murders blamed on same people


The province's sports and culture minister Vusi Shongwe blamed Mpatlanyane's murder on the same people who killed Mohlala.

The Sunday World reported that it had information that both men were on a hit list, originally of 11 people, but which had since grown to 20 and included Mbombela executive Mayor Lassy Chiwayo and two journalists.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Mohlala was to have testified in the disciplinary hearing of former municipal manager Jacob Dladla, accused of financial mismanagement of the stadium project. Dladla had since resigned.

The newspaper reported that one of the journalists on the hit list was believed to be Mail & Guardian sports writer Lucky Sindane, who covered the Mohlala killing.

"The M&G is exploring ways of ensuring his safety," it wrote.

"Sanef deplores the loss of life so far and urges anybody with information about the alleged hit list to inform the police without delay," it said on Tuesday.

"The police should leave no stone unturned in their effort to bring those behind the barbaric acts of murder and intimidation to book."

Durban editor threatened

Sanef also pledged its full support for Philani Makhanya, the news editor of The Mercury, who it said had laid a charge of intimidation against a politically-connected Durban businessman for allegedly threatening his safety.

"Interestingly, the prominent, high-spending businessman is a friend of Bheki Cele, the national commissioner of police," Sanef said.

"As Angela Quintal, the editor of The Mercury says in her supporting affidavit, the newspaper, like all media, has 'a special duty to uphold the principle of freedom of expression and to eliminate dishonesty, news suppression and censorship'."