The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has deployed soldiers to the SABC to protect journalists and not to interfere with its news operations, the public broadcaster said at the weekend.
“As a national key point area, delivering an essential service to the nation, and considering the recent attacks on the SABC journalists, it was deemed necessary that the physical premises and the employees working in these offices be protected,” said the SABC’s Gugu Ntuli, group executive for corporate affairs and marketing.
“The SABC dismisses, with the necessary contempt, the misleading and malicious allegations that there is an ulterior motive for the presence of the members of SANDF in its premises.
“In the exercise of their responsibilities, the members of the SANDF engage with the SABC’s internal security to familiarise themselves with some internal security processes and national key point activities, including news. At no point in time has and will the SANDF impact or get involved with operational matters of the SABC.”
Ntuli added that there was no evidence of soldiers in the newsroom, and if that were the case, it would be “unacceptable and not in line with the SABC’s public mandate and editorial policies”.
Last month, the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) bemoaned attacks on journalists covering riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, including an SABC crew being robbed in Alexandra township in Johannesburg.
Earlier this month, Sanef also expressed concern about a clause in SABC journalists’ contracts that would allow the broadcaster to monitor their communication, warning this would be a violation of the Cyber Security Act.
On Friday, the SABC said it would remove the clause.