Kathrada Foundation lauds Suna Venter, lashes BLF threats
THE Ahmed Kathrada Foundation yesterday expressed sadness at the death of journalist Suna Venter, pictured, one of the so-called “SABC 8”, and strongly criticised the Black First Land First (BLF) organisation for its threats against various journalists.
“Venter tragically passed on last week due to ‘broken heart syndrome’ following a series of attacks aimed at her after she had raised concerns over editorial policies at the SABC,” said Ahmed Kathrada Foundation director Neeshan Balton.
Venter, 32, was among the SABC 8 dismissed for voicing concerns over the SABC’s now overturned ruling banning violent protest footage.
“We have also noted the passing of SABC camera operator Zama Mbalo, Carte Blanche’s Johann Botha, and anti-apartheid photographer Ranjith Kally. Our condolences are extended to all their families,” Balton said.
“We can never underestimate the role journalists play in promoting and upholding the constitutional value of freedom of speech. We must laud journalists like Suna, who despite intimidation, stood resolute.”
Balton said that last year anti-apartheid Struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada had met two of the SABC 8 to extend his support to their cause.
“We were shocked at some of the details they shared with us.
“It was however, inspiring to see how ordinary journalists were willing to put their jobs, and sometimes their lives, at risk to uphold the constitution and to serve the country.
“We condemn the recent targeting of Business Day’s Tim Cohen and Peter Bruce by Black First Land First. We also find BLF’s statement targeting a list of white journalists and calling on certain black journalists to ‘repent’ most objectionable.
“We cannot allow journalists to be intimidated into changing their headlines simply because a group of people threaten them. What makes it all the more worrying is the BLF group is known for its outright defence of the Gupta family,” Balton said.