The South African Broadcasting Corporation admitted on Friday that a security audit had been conducted at its KwaZulu-Natal offices.
“The process is a standard procedure to constantly identify the possible threats towards acts of terror, espionage and other related risks that have… the potential to impede the… running of the SABC as an institution…,” said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.
The SABC came under fire this week after News24 reported that the National Intelligence Agency was allegedly “spying” on staff.
It was the Broadcast Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) that lifted the lid on what it described as suspicious activity. Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson wrote a letter to SABC chief executive Frans Matlala on Tuesday requesting answers.
“They [NIA] have instructed employees to leave their offices while operators spent between two and three hours per office for a purpose unknown to the employees.
“We have furthermore been informed that employees were instructed to keep quiet about this and were threatened with action should they tell anybody…
“We request your urgent intervention, assistance and explanation. We request that this secret operation be stopped and the purpose and intent be communicated to staff,” Du Buisson said in the letter.
In a detailed response Kganyago said the technical surveillance measures had been grossly misrepresented in the media.
“The SABC would like to put it on record that this process is not in any way a move to undermine the corporation’s business units, instil fear among staff members or invade their privacy,” said Kganyago.
Matlala said: “The SABC’s greatest and most valuable assets are its human capital, intellectual property and its broadcast equipment.
“It is therefore imperative that from time to time a security audit is conducted to ensure that there is no room for threat to the efficient operations of the broadcaster.
“The recent local and international events where journalists are attacked cannot be taken lightly and be… dismissed as random attacks; it is for this reason and many other prior security concerns that we have to look at the issue of the security holistically.
“It is important that one has to appreciate the kind of measures… we take to ensure the safety of our assets.”
Kganyago said South Africans and SABC staff should rest assured that there was nothing “ominous and untoward with regard to this process as it is guided by the Provincial Joint Planning Committee (Security) that constitutes various stakeholders to ensure the security of various state-owned entities in compliance with the National Key Point requirements”. News24