Parliamentary committee slams intimidation of journalists

2017-07-03 13:31
RSG Afrikaans news producer Suna Venter speaks during an interview about her suspension by the SABC. (Deon Raath, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

RSG Afrikaans news producer Suna Venter speaks during an interview about her suspension by the SABC. (Deon Raath, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The portfolio committee on communications has condemned the recent intimidation of journalists, and has sent its condolences to the family of Suna Venter.

Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said the committee was saddened to hear of Venter's passing, adding that she had left an indelible legacy of speaking truth to power.

"The committee is aware of the extent to which her death is linked to the intimidation and torture she was subjected to when she formed part of the SABC 8.

"She will be laid to rest tomorrow, July 4, 2017. May her soul rest in eternal peace," Maxegwana said.

Venter was one of eight journalists who flagged issues of widespread misconduct at the SABC; that led to the parliamentary inquiry into the ailing public broadcaster.

READ: Journalist Suna Venter remembered as tenacious, fearless fighter

Unnatural stress

Her body was discovered in her flat in Fairland, Johannesburg, on Thursday morning, after being diagnosed with a cardiac condition known as stress cardiomyopathy, or "Broken Heart Syndrome", which can cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness.

Her family believe her condition was caused by trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress, and exacerbated, if not caused, by months of intimidation during the inquiry process.

"Her flat was broken into on numerous occasions, the brake cables of her car were cut and her car's tyres were slashed. She was shot at and abducted - tied to a tree at Melville Koppies, while the grass around her was set alight," her family said.

The Democratic Alliance on Friday called on Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to update Parliament on investigations into the SABC 8 attacks.

The DA said it would write to Maxegwana to request that Mbalula be summoned to Parliament to provide an update, DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said.

"It has been almost a year since the SABC 8 reported death threats, assaults, house break-ins, and many other sinister intimidation tactics following their legal action against the subverting of press freedom at the SABC by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his acolytes mid-last year," Van Damme said.

"It is outrageous that, to date, not a single person has been arrested, or held accountable for these attacks."

Police spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga told News24 on Friday that the ministry must look into the progress of the SABC 8 cases.

Maxegwana, meanwhile, also condemned the "mob" who protested outside veteran editor Peter Bruce's house last week.

The committee welcomed Mbalula's promise to deal swiftly and harshly with further threats to journalists.

Read more on:    parliament  |  da  |  sabc  |  suna venter  |  cape town  |  media freedom

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.


Does your dog have separation anxiety?

We've got tips, advice and how to help your dog



Fascinating facts about dogs
Perfectly captured cat snapchats!
Out with the old dog, in with the new
Play with your pet when you're not at home
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.