Sanef concerned about probe into journalists after national lotteries exposé

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) says the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has no idea how independent journalism works.

Instead of investigating alleged corruption recently exposed in the media, the commission has resorted to attacking the journalists involved, the organisation said.

Sanef's comments come after NLC board chairperson, Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, said in Parliament last week that his organisation asked the State Security Agency (SSA) to investigate journalists.

Appearing before Parliament's trade and industry portfolio committee, Nevhutanda claimed the NLC learnt that its computers had been hacked.

He claimed journalists were paid to write "fake stories" about misspending at the NLC with the intention of bringing down the organisation.

READ: Lottery grant of R28.3m goes to waste as Limpopo school falls apart

Media reports exposed alleged multimillion-rand corruption involving NLC grants as well as the awarding of a lottery-funded contract to a company, whose sole director was the brother of a senior NLC official.

Nevhutanda's statements were also made against the background of an ongoing investigation by a group of investigative journalists into multimillion-rand grants to a variety of lottery-funded projects.

But in a statement, Sanef said: "Nevhutanda's remarks reflect an extremely dangerous attitude where the media is being blamed for the NLC's inherent problems. Rather than investigating why millions cannot be accounted for, the NLC has instead tried to cast doubt on the integrity of the journalists involved and has asked the SSA to investigate their sources".

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