Senior SABC reporter expresses great sadness at direction taken by SABC

Lukhanyo Calata says editorial decisions taken by his bosses are nothing short of curbing media freedom.

The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The son of one of the Cradock Four, Lukhanyo Calata, has expressed his great sadness at the direction taken by his employers at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and has urged them to reflect on the cause his father died for.

Today marks 31 years since the killings of Fort Calata, Matthew Goniwe, Sicelo Mhlauli and Sparrow Mkhonto - who are known as the Cradock Four.

The four were caught at a roadblock by apartheid police in Port Elizabeth, prompting then President PW Botha to declare a state of emergency that would remain in place for years.

Calata, a senior reporter at the SABC, says the recent editorial decisions taken by his bosses are nothing short of curbing media freedom.

Calata's statements come on the same day as revelations that three senior journalists at the national broadcaster recently wrote a letter to Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Earlier today, Eyewitness News revealed the trio requested clarity on editorial policy. They have also expressed concern over unfair suspensions.

Calata says the current state of the public broadcaster does not represent what his father and three comrades died for.

He says his bosses at the SABC have taken a direction that flies in the face of what many sacrificed their lives for.

The three SABC journalists warned that sudden changes to editorial policies are in direct contravention of editorial legislation and the South African Constitution.

Busisiwe Ntuli, Jacques Steenkamp and Krivani Pillay penned their deep concern over the "victimisation" of their colleagues, who have been suspended for trying to debate the SABC's new editorial policies.

The authors go on to say they have been shocked by recent pronouncements which fundamentally erode the right of the public to know the whole story, adding that their integrity continuously gets called into question.

The letter goes on to say that the journalists' primary interest is to clarify the confusion and find a lasting solution for guidelines on editorial issues.