The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) strongly condemns the harassment of SABC journalists on Wednesday morning by members of the community in Tshitavha, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo Province.
Cameraperson Llewellyn Carstens together with TV reporter Lutendo Bobodi and Radio reporter Rudzani Tshivhase went to the area to cover a story about bodies that were to be exhumed. The story was about a couple who had been digging up graves to steal body parts. Police opened two graves so far. In the first grave, the body did not have a head. The second grave was completely empty. The community has torched the house of a suspect who's on the run.
In order to cover the story, the trio were allowed to enter the village. According to them, a group of young men then arrived and swore at them. The camera person was slapped. Fortunately, he did not sustain any wounds. The men then pelted the SABC vehicle with stones as the journalists drove away.
The media industry and in particular the public broadcaster plays a massive role in disseminating information to South Africans. It is a dark day in our country if journalists are not allowed to do their jobs and are attacked by the very people they serve.
We appeal to the police to look into the matter so journalists can be protected in order to do their work without intimidation or harassment. We, once again, call on the South African Police Service to play its role in protecting journalists.