Suna Venter’s family: She suffered from broken heart syndrome
Those closest to the late 'SABC 8' member believe her condition was exacerbated by the events of the past year.
Suna Venter, one of four journalists who took their dismissals from the SABC to court, smiles after their case in the Labour Court. Picture: Neil McCartney
In a media statement this afternoon, Suna Venter’s family said: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of SABC senior producer of RSG Current Affairs Suna Venter.”
According to her family, Venter’s body was discovered on Thursday morning at her flat in Fairlands.
She was 32 when she passed on and had “recently been 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”.
She shot to prominence in 2016 when she was suspended from the SABC, along with a number of colleagues who became known as the SABC 8.
The group was suspended and fired after they voiced their concerns about unlawful interference in the newsroom and illegal editorial policies being implemented at the SABC.
The journalists were opposing editorial policies pertaining primarily to the broadcast of violent protests.
They were summarily dismissed, but later reinstated by the Labour Court.
The family said: “Despite this victory, and a parliamentary ad hoc committee investigation into the affairs of the SABC, Venter was the victim of continued intimidation, victimisation and death threats.”
The statement continued that “Over the course of the past year, she received various threatening SMS messages. Her flat was broken into on numerous occasions, the brake cables of her car were cut and her car’s tyres were slashed.
“She was shot at and abducted – tied to a tree at Melville Koppies while the grass around her was set alight. On a separate occasion earlier this year, she was shot in the face with an unknown weapon and received surgery to remove the metal pellets from her face. During the past year, she was assaulted on three various occasions.”
The family reiterated that “those closest to her believe that her condition was exacerbated, if not caused, by the events of the past year.”
Venter joined the SABC eight years ago as a producer at RSG Current Affairs.
Executive producer of RSG current affairs Foeta Krige confirmed her death and said Venter was, from the start, passionate about international news and current affairs.
Krige said during her time as producer she was involved with Gift of The Givers 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 right after the war began to report for RSG from the frontlines. She remained passionate about the welfare of the children she encountered on these assignments up until her death,” Krige said.
Venter is survived by her father and mother, Phillip and Christa Venter, and brother and sister Wilhelm and Tessa.