SABC inquiry hears journalist Suna Venter was shot in face with air rifle

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has heard that journalist Suna Venter was shot in the face with an air rifle last year.

It now wants a response from Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on what is being done to prevent threats and intimidation against journalists at the public broadcaster.

The Democratic Alliance’s Phumzile van Damme has told Members of Parliament (MPs) she was alerted about the incident by Venter, who was shot at while driving her car in January this year.

After sending out the above post in which she states the incident took place in November, Venter has since tweeted that she made an error and that the incident actually took place in January.

The incident is the latest in a string of incidents aimed at Venter and other members of the so-called SABC 8 journalists, who have taken a stand against censorship at the public broadcaster.

The committee raised the issue with police last year.

MPs have slammed the latest incident and now want Nhleko to spell out how far the police investigation has come.

Parliament’s inquiry into the SABC will be writing an urgent letter to the minister asking for an update on the police investigation into threats and intimidation targeting SABC journalists.

The committee tasked with the probe also wants a face-to-face meeting with Nhleko.

It’s emerged that Venter this week underwent surgery on the wound sustained in January.

Two pellets from an air rifle were removed.

Venter is one of the so-called SABC 8 who challenged censorship at the broadcaster.

Some of them last year received death threats, mysterious break-ins, tampering with their vehicles and other incidents.

Inquiry chairperson Vincent Smith says: "At this merit that should we write the letter, the letter at least gets delivered urgently. The interaction with the minister, of course, depends on availability, so we will do both. We will write the letter and propose the meeting. I am sure the minister will be here next week when we have the state of the nation so we will try and do both."

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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