'We do not know who the donors were in the crowdfunding': SABC 8 after Bosasa links

A composite image of some of the SABC 8 journalists (from left) Foeta Krige‚ Krivani Pillay, Jacques Steenkamp, Suna Venter and former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
A composite image of some of the SABC 8 journalists (from left) Foeta Krige‚ Krivani Pillay, Jacques Steenkamp, Suna Venter and former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Image: Twitter/@sunav, Facebook/Foeta Krige, Facebook/Krivani Pillay, Facebook/Jacques Steenkamp, Waldo Swiegers

A group of former and current SABC journalists has denied any involvement with state capture-linked company Bosasa.

“We do not know who the donors were in the crowdfunding initiative, some identified themselves and some remained anonymous,” the group, known as the SABC 8, said in a statement.

“After the reinstatement of some of us, we decided to share some of the money with people who had causes similar to ours.”

This comes after an e-mail emerged in which a senior Bosasa official instructed his colleagues to donate R100,000 to the crowdfunding effort to help the group of journalists in 2016.

Bosasa has been accused of bribing politicians to win government contracts. The allegations were revealed this month in testimony by former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi at the state capture commission. 

TimesLIVE has seen a leaked email in which the donation is described as “the best return on investment ever”.

Two sources close to Bosasa said the company paid the money but TimesLIVE was not able to verify whether that was the case. 

The SABC 8 comprised Vuyo Mvoko, Thandeka Gqubule, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay, Lukhanyo Calata, Foeta Krige, Jacques Steenkamp and Busisiwe Ntuli. The SABC suspended the journalists at the time without pay for speaking out against censorship of protest footage.

The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said the campaign raised R400,000 and was shared among the journalists. 

“South Africans opened their hearts and wallets and we managed to raise almost R400,000 from individual donations. Most of the donations were small amounts made by hundreds of supporters of the cause (donors had the option to remain anonymous or state their names). Two large donations were made, none by Bosasa or any person linked to the Bosasa group,” Sanef said. 

The SABC 8 said in their statement: “It is interesting to note that the same Bosasa that apparently funded us is the same one that paid the legal costs for Hlaudi Motsoeneng, against whom we fought to save a public asset from further capture.”

The journalists expressed concern about the rise of fake news against “noble journalists.”

“We remain steadfast and committed and we will not be swayed by the purveyors of fake news and lies.”

-Additional reporting by Bongani Fuzile 

- TimesLIVE 

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