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SABC 8 unfazed by threats forcing them to drop charges

It’s understood Foeta Krige & Suna Venter have been receiving threats to force them to drop charges against the broadcaster.

FILE: Righ2Know campaigners take its protest against censorship at SABC to Luthuli House. Picture: Masa Kekana/ EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – A South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) journalist, who has taken the public broadcaster to court, says threats forcing them to drop a Constitutional Court application against the public broadcaster are only encouraging.

Foeta Krige is one of the journalists who has been receiving threats via text and phone calls.

Krige says his house has been broken into, apparently in an attempt to convince him to drop the application.

His colleague Suna Venter has also allegedly been repeatedly threatened.

The journalists have approached the Constitutional Court to order Parliament to hold an inquiry into the issues they raised about the public broadcaster.

Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, which is representing the journalists, is now awaiting a ruling on whether the matter falls within the direct jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

Krige says the question that needs to be asked is why so much is being done to prevent the case from being heard in the Constitutional Court.

“Maybe there’s something in our affidavit that’s lying at the Constitutional Court and there’s something in it that’s a threat to someone somewhere.”

He says although he cannot draw a direct link between his house breaking and the threats he's been receiving, he has reason to believe there's a link.

“We were invited by our lawyer to have a meeting at his office. Directly after that I received a message ‘if you go there tomorrow, this is a last warning. Good luck, you’ll never see court because it will be too late’. The question is who’s got the ability to intercept private mails?”

Krige says he believes the fundamentals of this case are entrenched in the Constitution and it is surprising that anyone would try to prevent it from going forward.

Meanwhile, the lawyers for the eight journalists who have taken the SABC to court say the threats their clients have received- speaks to the culture of censorship at the public broadcaster.

VENTER FEARS FOR HER LIFE

At the same timer, Venter says she’s finding it hard to believe that all the attempted attacks and threats on her are not linked to the Constitutional Court application.

Venter says she is scared for her life but also that of her family's, because the threats against her are continuing to escalate.

“And then came the shooting when I was driving home, I just heard four loud bangs and I just sat down and swerved to the side of the street and when the police examined where the shots were placed, they just said the aim was for my head.”

She says although she tries to keep an open mind and chooses to believe that every incident that occurs is isolated, she is shaken every time a malicious text comes through.

“You’ll never know whether these things are connected, you want to believe they’re not. But then I got home at 9 in the evening and then my entire flat had been trashed, nothing stolen, just the entire place was trashed.”

Police say they are investigating four charges including intimidation and house breaking, but no suspects have been identified.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)