25 April 2017

South Africa: Parliament Break in an Attack On SABC - R2K

The recent break in at the SABC's Parliament offices is an attack on both the public broadcaster and Parliament itself, the Right2Know campaign says.

"We are particularly concerned that journalists' computers were targeted in the break-in, suggesting the possibility that those behind the crime were after sensitive or personal information that is on the journalists' computers," R2K spokesperson Busi Mtabane said on Tuesday.

The theft allegedly took place on Friday night in Parliament's Marks Building.

Parliament spokesperson Molotho Mothapo on Sunday said the night security staff had said that at approximately 23:00, "there were several SABC staff members working at the said office".

There was no sign of forced entry, he said.

State Security Agency 'involvement'?

R2K said the incident has happened in the broader context of harassment of SABC workers, as well as unexplained break-ins at the offices of the Chief Justice, unionists, progressive academics and students associated with protest movements.

"In light of this, there is a very real possibility that the break-in at the SABC offices is part of a deliberate campaign aimed to intimidate and to interfere with the free flow of information."

R2K said the issue of security at Parliament must be addressed. The recent securitisation of Parliament has made it less transparent and open, but has not stopped genuine security breaches such as this one.

"In light of this, we call on the SAPS and Parliamentary security to conduct a thorough investigation into this burglary and bring the criminals responsible to book."

The Democratic Alliance meanwhile has called on the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Sethlomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to investigate the State Security Agency's "possible involvement".

DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said the break in was "stunningly suspicious".

"We view this latest 'break-in' as part of a much bigger, co-ordinated campaign to intimidate and threaten SABC journalists."

The party would also ask the Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete to investigate the suspicious circumstances under which the theft took place - considering the security measures already in place.

Source: News24

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