SABC in jam over 'VBS looters' - Broadcaster sued for linking three men with bank
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is being sued for R3m for allegedly linking three Limpopo men to the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.
This comes after the public broadcaster aired a video clip showing three men being chauffeured in a car in which they speak about living the high life.
In the video clip which was circulated on social media last year, the three men speaking in Venda are shown seemingly distributing large sums of money among themselves.
Israel Nemafhohoni, along with two unnamed friends, are now suing the SABC for defamation, demanding R1m each. When approached for comment yesterday, Nemafhohoni referred all questions to their lawyer, Thomas Dzivhani.
Dzivhani confirmed to Sowetan that they are taking the public broadcaster to court for airing the video.
"There was a video clip where they were saying this money is for who and this money is for who ... I'm sure you have watched that video," he said.
The three men work for an undertaker based in Venda, known as Vho-Makhadzi Funeral Services.
Dzivhani said the SABC defamed his clients by alleging that the money seen in the clip was proceeds of criminal activities linked to the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.
"Yes, there's a matter pending in the high court regarding defamation of character," said Dzivhani, who said they approached the courts following the SABC's unwillingness to settle the matter out of court.
Dzivhani said that the SABC aired the video on various channels including on Izindaba (news) on SABC1 as well as on its 24-hour news channel 404 on DStv.
"That video was playing on the SABC and they were alleging that these are the people who squandered VBS money. It aired sometime last year, I don't have the exact date with me," said Dzivhani.
He said that they approached the SABC to make it aware that it was wrongfully linking his clients to VBS, to which the public broadcaster requested proof.
But, the SABC stopped responding after they presented it with the evidence it had requested.
They then served the SABC with a letter of demand late last year.
Sowetan could not find the clip that the SABC aired of the men but the public broadcaster confirmed that it was "aware of the matter" but could not comment further, saying it was "sub judice".