The break-in at the SABC’s Parliamentary offices, and removal of multiple laptops of senior journalists, is stunningly suspicious.
In light of ongoing intimidation of SABC journalists, particularly those who spoke out against SABC management during the SABC inquiry, we view this latest “break-in” as part of a much bigger, coordinated campaign to intimidate and threaten SABC journalists.
We encourage the SAPS to investigate this matter urgently. It is appalling that to-date not a single person has been arrested for the death threats and break-ins at homes of the SABC 8, including the shooting in the face with an air rifle of one of them.
Given a history in seizing laptops, and involvement in campaigns to intimidate journalists – as was revealed during the SABC inquiry – the DA will request that the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Sethlomamaru Dintwe, investigate the State Security Agency (SSA) possible involvement in this latest break-in, and ongoing intimidation of journalists.
On 5 April 2017, Dr Dintwe, agreed to the DA’s request that he investigates the allegations by SABC journalists and staff that their mobile phones were intercepted and tapped by SSA. We will ask that he add the latest allegations to his ongoing investigation.
Journalists perform a fundamental role in our democracy to keep the public fully informed, and any attempt by the government to monitor their communications, or intimidate their work, should be viewed as an attack on press freedom.
DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen will also be taking up with the Speaker of Parliament how an office inside the parliament precinct, protected by 24 hour SAPS guard, could be breached and thieved from. The circumstances appear very suspicious and we will demand that the Speaker gives an explanation.
In a time of increasing state capture, and when the state’s intelligence is now seemingly being used to intimidate journalists, instead of protecting our people, we trust that the Inspector General will thoroughly investigate the alleged tapping of SABC journalists, and will deal with those responsible.
The DA will not stand for any attempt by captured individuals or families to control and propagate the messages in the media.