SABC8’s Calata says he won’t by swayed by death threats but ‘hopefully‚ I don’t get killed’

SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata says death threats will not stop him and his colleagues from speaking about the rot within the state broadcaster.

Calata is one of the “SABC8” – staff who earlier this week laid bare‚ during a parliamentary inquiry‚ a “reign of terror” by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and how the broadcaster’s funds were channelled to Gupta-owned rival news TV station ANN7.

Shortly afterwards‚ they received threatening SMS messages. “Traitors protecting your white friends in Parliament who started this‚ telling lies about your comrades. You are warned‚ we don’t kill blacks but sit and watch the blood flow‚” said one of the text messages.

“It unsettles you a little bit but … we took this collective decision that we won’t be swayed and we will not allow ourselves to be terrorised by this. We don’t believe that we did anything wrong so these threats cannot deter us‚” Calata told CapeTalk ( radio on Thursday.

“I don’t see why people would take what we have done in such a light that they would say that we deserve to be killed for what we’ve done when we in fact have‚ I believe‚ spoken out in the interests of the public.”

Calata‚ Suna Venter‚ Foeta Krige‚ Krivani Pillay‚ Thandeka Gqubule‚ Busisiwe Ntuli‚ Vuyo Mvoko and Jacques Steenkamp were axed by the public broadcaster earlier in 2016 for speaking out against its policy of not showing footage of violent protests.

They were reinstated after a Labour Court ruling.

It also recently emerged that they had received death threats when they announced that they intended continuing a Constitutional Court case against the SABC.

Gqubule told the parliamentary inquiry that SABC news had become tainted as politicians and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi dictated how journalists should cover stories. Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe had shouted at a presenter behind the scenes for being asked unfavourable questions‚ she added.

Calata fears for the safety of his family after the threats but asked: “What’s the worst that they could do to me?

“This has already happened to my father and I am not particularly scared at all‚” he said. Fort Calata‚ his father‚ was one of the Cradock Four who were murdered by police during apartheid in the 1980s.

“The things that I am scared of‚ for instance‚ is having my mother live through this. Over 30 years ago‚ my mom had lived through her husband receiving death threats and my dad was then eventually killed. That was in apartheid South Africa‚” he told the radio station.

“Now we live in a new democratic South Africa and now she has to live through the same experience with her son receiving death threats. Hopefully‚ I don’t get killed in the process.” – TMG Digital



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