SANDF adamant that the deployment has nothing to do with predicted insurgent attacks, but said it was purely to deal with the violent protests of last month.
THE SANDF is adamant that the deployment of personnel at the SABC’s offices in some parts of the country was on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s deployment order of July 22.
SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the deployment instruction was to place the SANDF members at national key points such as the SABC, airports and key Transnet buildings, among others.
“You will find them at any national key points such as airports and other key installations. They were deployed there on July 22 after the president made the announcement. The deployment is until October. It is only then that we will make a review about their deployment,” Dlamini said.
He was adamant that the deployment had nothing to do with predicted insurgents, but said it was purely to deal with the violent protests of last month.
SABC group executive: corporate affairs and marketing Gugu Ntuli confirmed the SANDF’s version, saying the presence of the army was to ensure physical security of the public broadcaster’s premises and staff at most of its national key point premises around the country, including its headquarters in Auckland Park.
On Saturday, soldiers armed with rifles could be seen outside the SABC Henley Studio Park, while others patrolled outside.
According to Ntuli: “This deployment is in light of the recent unrest. As a national key point area, delivering an essential service to the nation, and considering the recent attacks on the SABC journalists, it was deemed necessary that the physical premises and the employees working in these offices be protected.
“The SABC dismisses, with the necessary contempt, the misleading and malicious allegations that there is an ulterior motive for the presence of the members of SANDF on its premises.
“In the exercise of their responsibilities, the members of the SANDF engage with the SABC’s internal security to familiarise themselves with some internal security processes and national key point activities, including News. At no point in time has and will the SANDF impact or get involved with operational matters of the SABC,” Ntuli said.
She added that while the SABC has no evidence that any SANDF personnel were in the newsroom, the public broadcaster would like to make it clear that any presence by SANDF personnel in the newsroom would be unacceptable and not in line with the SABC’s public mandate and editorial policies.
Other staff members also denied any interference with their jobs, saying that the army was patrolling and protecting their premises.