‘Cowards’ threaten journos for ANC loss in recent polls

Johannesburg- SABC staffers in Free State were this week left shell shocked after alleged ANC members in Maluti-a-Phofung and Metsimaholo municipalities threatened to harm Lesedi FM female news anchors and producers.

The radio staffers are being  blamed for the party’s losses in the  local government elections.

Sunday World has seen a text message sent to SABC news producer and anchor, Dimakatso Motsoeneng, threatening her life.

The message states that the children of Palesa Chubisi and Lahliwe Matsoso, who are also news anchors at the SABC radio station, would be kidnapped and raped.

The person who sent the message to the trio said they were the cause of  the ANC’s  loss of power at the two municipalities.

Maluti-a-Phofung, which is under the leadership of MAP16 in coalition with other parties,  except the ANC and DA, governs areas such as Qwaqwa, Harrismith and Kestell under Thabo Mofutsanyane district.

Metsimaholo falls under Fezile Dabi district of Sasolburg, where the DA is governing after the EFF instructed its member, who was elected mayor, to resign from her position as she had been voted in office  with the support of ANC members.

Sunday World understands that the message has sent shock waves at the SABC radio station and to local communities, including the ANC leadership in the province, due to its nature.

ANC provincial spokesperson Oupa Khoabane strongly condemned the threats directed at SABC journalists.

“The ANC Free State has learned with disgust the threats on journalists of Lesedi FM by faceless cowards who accuse them of negatively affecting the electoral performance of the ANC in Metsimaholo and Maluti-a-Phofung.

“It is such threats on journalists that threaten freedom of speech. We view such threats as cowardly deeds by individuals who may feel defeated by democratic environment that finds expression through robust engagement by journalists in enlightening society,” he said.

SABC group executive for corporate affairs and marketing Gugu Ntuli said the public broadcaster was aware of the threats and was gravely concerned about the danger this posed to its staff.

“It is disheartening that this is happening to journalists who risk their lives to serve the public. It is also unfortunate that this intimidation is now extended to their families.

“The SABC is treating these threats seriously and is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that journalists are safe. The journalist to whom the message was sent directly has opened a case,” Ntuli said.

It was confirmed that a case has been opened with the police.

Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele confirmed that a case of intimidation was opened at Parkweg Police Station in Bloemfontein.

“According to the complainant, she was at her residence on Wednesday at about 07:58 when she received a call from a cellular phone number. The caller requested to speak with her. The complainant replied that it was indeed her speaking …The complainant received an SMS from the same number after an estimated seven minutes period stating that: ‘They are going to kill her’,” said Makhele, adding that no arrests have been made yet.

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