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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

SSA’s reported targeting of SABC head of news Moshoeshoe Monare condemned

The SSA has allegedly sought to subject Moshoeshoe Monare to another round of vetting two years after he assumed office.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) together with Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) and the Campaign for Freedom of Expression (CFE) have condemned the State Security Agency’s (SSA) reported targeting of  SABC head of news Moshoeshoe Monare.

This comes after City Press reported the SSA has sought to subject Monare to another round of vetting two years after he assumed office as the group executive for news and current affairs at the public broadcaster.


Sanef said the SSA’s move is concerning.

“This move by the SSA undermines the fundamental principles of media and editorial independence and freedom of the press. While the SABC may be a deemed a Critical Infrastructure in terms of the Critical Infrastructure Act, the Act is focused on the vetting of security personnel and not journalists.

“While parliament did not accede to our requests during deliberations on the Bill that SABC journalists were to be specifically excluded, it is clear from the definition and aims of the Act that journalists are not included, and that vetting is for security personnel only,” Sanef said.

Sanef added that “despite the clear threat to media freedom that the request to vet Monare poses, it is mind boggling and ridiculous that the request should come when the head of news has occupied the position for nearly two years!”

“It is even more worrying that it comes just a month ahead of elections. As organisations committed to upholding media freedom, journalistic integrity and safeguarding the public’s right to accurate information, we condemn this action unequivocally,” Sanef said.

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The Presidency has disputed reports that Monare is being targeted ahead of the 29 May general elections.

Spokesperson Vincent Magqwenya said the City Press story “attempted to create a link between recent developments at the SABC concerning the vetting process of Monare with utterances attributed to the President Cyril Ramaphosa through a leaked recording of a meeting of the governing party”.

“I must emphasise that indeed the State Security Agency does not publicly discuss the names of individuals that are being vetted, neither does the Presidency. However due to grave nature of the claims that have been made and calls directed to the Presidency, we do have the obligation to provide the facts on the matter and dispel with falsehoods or doubts about the President’s commitment to media freedom as enshrined in our bill of rights.”

Security clearance

Magwenya said Monare’s vetting process was requested by the SABC only because his security clearance was not completed after joining the public broadcaster in 2022.

“Upon his appointment, Mr Monare gave consent to the vetting process and completed the form that was furnished to him, and went further to submit some but not all of the information that was required. The process was stalled when Mr Monare did not want to submit himself to a polygraph test which is part of the vetting process.”

Magwenya said Ramaphosa or any part of his administration “will never sanction acts of intimidation or harassment of journalists, because such behavior will stand contrary to sacrosanct adherence to the bill of rights that are enshrined in our country’s constitution.”

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