DA wants investigation into alleged spying at SABC


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence, aimed allegations that the State Security Agency (SSA) had been spying on staff members and journalists from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Speaking in a statement, party Shadow Minister for Communications, Gavin Davis, said staff members at the broadcaster’s Durban office would be escorted from the premises for up to three hours by SSA personal, before being instructed to keep quiet upon returning.

He also said that a number of employees had expressed fear at the fact that their offices were being put under SSA surveillance.

“It seems as if the SSA fails to understand that the SABC is an independent public broadcaster protected by the Constitution. This means that SABC journalists and support staff must be free to report the news without being intimidated by intelligence operatives,” Davis said.

“It goes without saying that whistleblowing is a legitimate practice in the fight against corruption [however] it is certainly not a valid reason for state intelligence officials to spy on SABC employees”.

Referring to a similar incident in January, Davis stated that the presence of SSA members has nothing to do with security, but rather the “insecurity” surrounding controversial SABC Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

“The public broadcaster should be a bastion of transparency, where journalists and support staff are free to ply their craft, and free to speak out against power abuse. Instead, the SABC is being turned into a place where employees fear speaking out against management, and feel constrained in what they can and cannot report on”, Davis said.

Earlier this month, Motsoeneng indicated that the attitude shown by certain independent media houses towards certain news items, needs regulating as it does not contribute to nation building.