SABC News management says it is concerned about the safety of its Lesedi FM Current Affairs team in Bloemfontein, after they received anonymous threats of death, kidnapping and rape this week.
The journalists are accused of causing the ANC to lose control of the Metsimaholo and Maluti-A-Phofung municipalities in the November elections.
An sms was sent to Lesedi FM’s Senior Producer – Dimakatso Motsoeneng’s phone. The message also mentions Current Affairs Presenters, Palesa Chubisi and Lahliwe Matsoso.
Motsoeneng says she received an anonymous text message whilst at home on Wednesday morning. The message blames the current affairs team for the African National Congress (ANC)’s dismal performance in the two municipalities in the November polls.
In the run-up to elections, Current Affairs shows on Lesedi FM looked into service delivery issues in various municipalities.
Dimakatso Motsoeneng explains, “It’s not nice because we are mothers, we have families, we have people that are looking after us. And if people come to you and make such statements, it simply means you don’t know where to go. I hope police will do whatever they can do to bring the perpetrators to book.”
Lesedi FM’s Current Affairs Executive Producer Naka Moloi says, “We are very concerned about the safety and security of our colleagues following the threats. But the fact of the matter is we as journalists. We were doing our job during the election coverage. We invited different political parties from different municipalities in the country. We did our homework, we did research. Our only sin was to probe issues and to ask tough questions.”
The ANC in the Free State has distanced itself from the threats. Free State ANC – IPC spokesperson Oupa Khobane says, “[Those are] elements that are trying to bring the name of the ANC in a bad light in terms of the public discourse. We have encouraged our members wherever they are to be on the lookout and expose those elements because such elements belong behind bars”.
A case of assault by threats has been registered with the police. The SABC is investigating the threat and will beef up security.