Journalists Receive Death Threats, SANEF Calls For Vigilence

The newspaper reported it had taken steps to protect award-winning investigative journalists Mzilikazi Wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter after it was discovered their movements and phone calls “have been monitored” in the past year.

Mondli Makhanya, Sanef chairman and editor-in-chief of Avusa, which owns the Sunday Times, on Tuesday asked for a meeting with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to discuss the matter.

“(Sanef) has also requested that (the minister) inform members of the cluster of Sanef’s grave concerns that the two journalists could be seriously harmed if the threats are carried out and that journalists as a whole will feel insecure and intimidated,” Makhanya said.

“Sanef urges all media groups to be especially vigilant to protect their staff against intimidatory actions.”

The newspaper said Wa Afrika had experienced “bizarre and threatening incidents”, including having a gun pointed at him and being forced off the road in April.

The two journalists have reported extensively on government corruption at the highest level, police commissioner Bheki Cele’s controversial lease deals as well as the activities of a political hit squad said to be operating in Mpumalanga.

In a sworn statement, Wa Afrika said intelligence sources warned him in December he was “a marked man” and hit men had been hired to assassinate him.

“The government is urged to take action to protect journalists to ensure South Africa’s democracy is not harmed by gangster-like actions and assassinations that have damaged other countries,” Sanef said. IOL News