The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has denied that controversial facilities company Bosasa, or anyone connected to the company, donated towards a crowdfunding campaign for a group of journalists, dubbed the SABC 8.
"We have had the opportunity to go through every of the 394 donations made in July 2016 to the cause and could not find any donation from Bosasa and/or a person connected to Bosasa or a donation for R100 000," Sanef's leadership said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement was made in response to a TimesLive report which indicated that an email allegedly showed that Bosasa appeared to have donated R100 000 towards the crowdfunding campaign in 2016.
Sources told the publication that former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi, pressured officials to pay towards the crowdfunding campaign, initiated by News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson.
The email, dated July 22, 2016, allegedly described the donation as "the best return on investment ever".
"Sanef would like to reiterate that no donations were solicited from anyone for this cause and that the eight SABC journalists were never involved in or had access to the identities of the donors," the leadership further explained.
The SABC8, which includes Vuyo Mvoko, Thandeka Gqubule, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay, Lukhanyo Calata, Foeta Krige, Jacques Steenkamp and Busisiwe Ntuli, had been suspended by the SABC with no pay for speaking out against censorship of protest footage.
In June 2017, Venter died, reportedly from "broken heart disease". Her family believed it was caused by trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress.
The remaining journalists rejected claims of a R100 000 donation from the controversial company.
"The SABC 8 has learnt with dismay and disgust the attempts to associate us with the Bosasa affair," the group said in a statement.
TimesLive further alleged that sources close to Bosasa confirmed that the company paid the money but the publication could not independently verify the claims.
Sanef asked TimesLive for proof of the alleged payment.