16 April 2019

South Africa: SABC Team Robbed 'In Broad Daylight' in Alex

Two SABC journalists were robbed of their camera "in broad daylight" in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Reporter Natasha Phiri and cameraman Sbu Mcedane were accosted by men who made off with their camera after trying to hijack their vehicle.

"Men came to their car," reported anchor Peter Ndoro in a news bulletin.

"Our reporter Natasha Phiri screamed for help but didn't get any assistance.

"In fact, onlookers, just literally, [watched] this play out on 11th avenue which is one of the busiest streets in Alexandra township.

"In broad daylight. Such is the brazen attitude of the thieves that took this camera," he said.

Ndoro warned people against buying the camera on the parallel market or at mainstream second hand shops.

"So, if you see a camera like this, somebody trying to offer you a camera like this, be warned this belongs to the SABC," he said, as a still of a similar camera was shown.

Phiri went on air to say: "Honestly we are quite shaken."

She explained that they were getting some visuals in 11th Avenue for a piece they are working on following complaints about service delivery, a shutdown, and an unsuccessful attempt by mayor Herman Mashaba to address people.

Phiri said armed men approached them and demanded that Mcedane give them the camera, and then moved to Phiri.

"Give me the car keys and all your belongings," they told her she said.

She said they were lucky that the robbers did not physically harm them, but she was stunned that people nearby just watched the scene unfold.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said the public broadcaster noted with "extreme concern" the robbery of the journalists while covering a story.

"The corporation is relieved that none of its crew members were harmed," said Mthembu.

"The SABC condemns the attack on its journalists, and has further noted recent events where its crews have been attacked while covering stories.

"As our journalists continue to cover political campaigns across the country ahead of the May [8] election, the SABC urges the public to allow them to do their work without any interruption, intimidation and harm."

In 2015, Vuyo Mvoko and his crew were mugged outside Milpark Hospital when he was preparing for a live crossing while still working at the SABC.

The two men who robbed them were sentenced to 15 years each in jail.

News24 reported that the broadcaster also had equipment stolen from it at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in November last year.

News24

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