Sanef calls for arrests following threats to SABC journos who covered elections

The South African National Editors' Forum is calling on law-enforcement agencies to investigate and arrest those threatening the lives of SABC's Lesedi FM journalists for covering the local government elections in the Free State.

Sanef logo. Picture: Sanef website.

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) is calling on law-enforcement agencies to investigate and arrest those threatening the lives of SABC's Lesedi FM journalists for covering the local government elections in the Free State.

The body said it learned with great dismay of a message sent to Lesedi FM presenter Dimakatso Ratselane where she received death threats including violence against her children too.

Her colleagues Palesa Chubisi and Lahliwe Matsoso also received similar threats.

Sanef's Hopewell Radebe said: "We can't have journalists covering the elections and then the political party concerned, which is the ANC, saying and accusing them that they lost the two municipalities in the Free State because of their stories or their coverage especially because they were presenters because they allowed people to phone in and express their views."

Sanef also noted with grave concern that this incident comes on the back of Transport Minister and ANC's head of elections Fikile Mbalula's baseless attack on the SABC for its coverage of the November elections.

Radebe said they would like to see action from the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) taking a stand against these acts.

"As the ones who run the elections, as the ones who are custodians of the laws during elections, if any party then goes out and says we blame the SABC or a group of journalist for a loss of we have incurred because they did their job, we would like to hear the voice of the IEC," Radebe said.

He says they would like to see action from Saps as well.

"It's a crime and I think the police should not take this lying down. They should hunt these people and have them prosecuted and the sooner the better because only then will any political leader realise what they have done is wrong. And this includes the Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula who singled out the SABC head of news.