Editors forum shocked by death of journalist, robbery of TV crew

Sanef concerned about journalists seemingly being under attack.
Sanef concerned about journalists seemingly being under attack.
Image: 123RF / MEARICON

The South African National Editors Forum has decried the death of a Free State journalist whose body was found along the N1 Highway.

Junior Bonase’s battered and bruised body was discovered along the N1 near Heuningspruit by a passerby last week. Bonase worked for the Bloemfontein-based Dumelang News publication.

Police spokesperson Thandi Mbambo said a case of culpable homicide is being investigated while a postmortem was conducted last Thursday.

“The body was found with injuries to the face. Further investigation revealed that the deceased was a journalist at a local newspaper in Bloemfontein.

“The cause of death is currently unknown and a case of culpable homicide has been registered for further investigation,”  she said.

“We have lost an award-winning journalist," said Sanef chair Mahlatse Mahlase. He won a regional Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award in 2015 in the online category. “We hope that the police will be able to determine the cause of his death as soon as possible,” she added.

Meanwhile, cameraman Tshepo Dhlamini and producer Harrietta Mbuzwana from eNCA’s investigative current affairs programme Checkpoint were robbed of their equipment while  working on an in-depth story on the Alex shutdown.

According to Sanef, the pair had finished their shoot in the Joburg township when they were approached by three men with a gun. “The men held up the crew and stole their equipment, excluding the camera. Both journalists were severely shaken by the incident and have opened a case with the Alexandra police,” Mahlase said.

“In terms of both incidents Sanef once again calls on media houses to protect their journalists, including doing security assessments where necessary and supporting journalists by offering hostile environment training and counselling. Further, we encourage journalists to access information on safety issues on the Sanef website,” Mahlase said.

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