Break in at Parliament an attack on SABC - R2K

2017-04-25 15:34
(File, Netwerk24)

(File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The recent break in at the SABC's Parliament offices is an attack on both the public broadcaster and Parliament itself, the Right2Know campaign says.

"We are particularly concerned that journalists' computers were targeted in the break-in, suggesting the possibility that those behind the crime were after sensitive or personal information that is on the journalists' computers," R2K spokesperson Busi Mtabane said on Tuesday.

The theft allegedly took place on Friday night in Parliament's Marks Building.

Parliament spokesperson Molotho Mothapo on Sunday said the night security staff had said that at approximately 23:00, "there were several SABC staff members working at the said office".

There was no sign of forced entry, he said.

DA accuses SSA of being involved

R2K said the incident has happened in the broader context of harassment of SABC workers, as well as unexplained break-ins at the offices of the Chief Justice, unionists, progressive academics and students associated with protest movements.

"In light of this, there is a very real possibility that the break-in at the SABC offices is part of a deliberate campaign aimed to intimidate and to interfere with the free flow of information."

R2K said the issue of security at Parliament must be addressed. The recent securitisation of Parliament has made it less transparent and open, but has not stopped genuine security breaches such as this one.

"In light of this, we call on the SAPS and Parliamentary security to conduct a thorough investigation into this burglary and bring the criminals responsible to book."

The Democratic Alliance meanwhile has called on the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Sethlomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to investigate the State Security Agency's "possible involvement".

DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said the break in was "stunningly suspicious".

"We view this latest 'break-in' as part of a much bigger, co-ordinated campaign to intimidate and threaten SABC journalists."

'Politically desperate, reckless'

The party would also ask the Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete to investigate the suspicious circumstances under which the theft took place - considering the security measures already in place.

SSA spokesperson Brian Dube on Tuesday said the agency noted with "great concern" the insinuation made by van Damme that the agency may have been involved.

"We take great exception at such reckless statements that undermine not only our institution but the state as well," Dube said.

"To suggest that an organ of state could be involved in a break in at the offices of another organ of state demonstrates new levels of political desperation."

Dube said van Damme and the DA should let the police handle the matter.

*Dube's comments were added after original publication.

Read more on:    parliament  |  da  |  r2k  |  crime

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