'Watch the blood flow' - text sent to SABC 8 journalist

Cape Town – UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa has revealed in Parliament the contents of a threatening text message sent to one of the "SABC 8" journalists this week.

Kwankwa on Wednesday told Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC board that he received a copy of the message from one of the journalists who testified in Parliament this week.

"Traitors, protecting your white friends in Parliament who started this, telling lies about your comrades. You are warned...watch the blood flow," it read.

The eight journalists were fired after objecting to censorship at the broadcaster ahead of the August local government elections. All but one were subsequently re-hired after they challenged their dismissal in court.

MPs were unanimous in their condemnation of the continued threats.

ACDP MP Steve Swart described the threats as "shocking". ANC MP Hlomane Chauke said a criminal case needed to be opened.

'An assault on Parliament'

ANC MP Jabu Mahlangu said Parliament should do everything it can to protect the witnesses.

Ad hoc committee chairperson Vincent Smith said he regarded the message as an assault on Parliament.

"When members of society are invited to give evidence to a Parliamentary committee, and are intimidated, that is an assault on Parliament."

Smith said the committee will take it up with the relevant authorities, and assured witnesses that Parliament would make them feel safe when they give testimony.

Four of the eight journalists – economics editor Thandeka Gqubule, SAfm executive producer Krivani Pillay, parliamentary reporter Lukhanyo Calata and fired contributing editor Vuyo Mvoko – appeared before the parliamentary inquiry detailing editorial interference at the public broadcaster.

The committee will interview Communications Minister Faith Muthambi at 14:00 on Wednesday.

Other witnesses include NGOs Right2Know, Media Monitoring Africa and SOS Save the Public Broadcaster.

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