Armed soldiers have been deployed to protect the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) premises and staff.
On Saturday, the SABC confirmed, “the deployment of the members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to ensure physical security of the public service broadcaster’s premises and staff”.
The public broadcaster said soldiers have been deployed “to most of the SABC’s national key point premises around the country, including its Headquarters in Auckland Park”.
The move was in response to last month’s unrest that left more than 300 people dead and billions of rand lost to looting of shops, torching of haulage trucks and the destruction of infrastructure.
Gugu Ntuli, SABC group executive: corporate affairs and marketing, said: “As a national key point area, delivering an essential service to the nation, and considering the recent attacks on the SABC journalists, it was deemed necessary that the physical premises and the employees working in these offices be protected”.
She added: “The SABC dismisses, with the necessary contempt, the misleading and malicious allegations that there is an ulterior motive for the presence of the members of SANDF in its premises.”
Ntuli said in the exercise of their responsibilities, the soldiers will engage with the SABC’s internal security “to familiarise themselves with some internal security processes and national key point activities, including news.”
“At no point in time has and will the SANDF impact or get involved with operational matters of the SABC,” said the group executive.
The boss lady added, “any presence by SANDF in the newsroom would be unacceptable and not in line with the SABC’s public mandate and editorial policies”.