The South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) has noted, with shame, the looting and extensive damage done at two radio stations in Alexandra, Johannesburg and in Kagiso, Mogale City. This comes as a result of the looting, violence and unrest which continues across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The two stations have been of great service to their communities over the years – Alex FM has been in operation for 27 years, while West Side FM has been on the air for eight years.
The two stations are now battling to get back on air and serve their communities as broadcasting equipment, among other assets, have been stolen. Sanef calls on the South African Police Service and the SA National Defence Force to continue acting against the criminals who seem to have the goal of cutting all forms of key news communication.
Both stations are in a position where they need help, as they have lost a lot of assets. West Side FM is at the local mall, where shops were looted and vandalised. Alex FM has put all the losses – which includes the loss of studio computers, equipment and infrastructure – around R5m.
It took years for these two stations to be built – Sanef encourages the two stations to open criminal cases, which will hopefully result in successful prosecutions.
In KZN, Sanef notes Premier Sihle Zikalala’s call for the media to be allowed space to do their job. Sanef also notes the unacceptable racial attacks and some police officers who continue to treat journalists with utter disrespect.
The organisation acknowledges that everyone has a constitutional right to protest, but what we have seen in recent days has now gone beyond protest – but instead, criminality which must be condemned and those arrested needing to be prosecuted.
Sanef would like to praise all South African journalists for their bravery and amazing coverage in these challenging conditions.