One of the “SABC 8” group of journalists who challenged the corporation’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng was found dead in her flat yesterday morning.
Suna Venter was only 32 and family members believe the stress of the fight against Motsoeneng, and later intimidation and death threats, brought on a heart condition which was ultimately fatal.
Venter was recently diagnosed with “a cardiac condition known as stress cardiomyopathy, or Broken Heart Syndrome, believed to be caused by trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress”, the family said.
They said her body was discovered at her flat in Fairlands.
“I could not believe it. I had hoped it was not true. Today is a sad day at the SABC. You could hear the crying of the colleagues,” said Mahlatse Gallens.
Gallens, who is also the chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum, was among the SABC journalists who protested against news censorship.
She said Venter “was committed to her job”. “She was very passionate about her work, very brave and determined to always tell a story. She was very soft-spoken.”
Venter returned from the Syrian-Turkish border in December, after “smuggling herself into the war ravaged area”.
Executive producer of RSG current affairs Foeta Krige said Venter was involved with Gift of The Givers and in various humanitarian missions in war-torn Libya, Gaza, Egypt and Syria.
“She cared so much about the situation in Syria that she took leave after the war began to report for RSG from the frontlines. She was passionate about the welfare of the children she encountered on these assignments,” said Krige. – firstname.lastname@example.org