SABC 8’s Suna Venter Tragically Passes Away at 32

South African journalist Suna Venter has tragically passed away at the age of just 32. She was one of the ‘SABC 8’, and although her family has not given the exact cause of her death, they did say in a media release that she was recently diagnosed with ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’.

In the media statement, issued on behalf of the Venter Family, it said: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of SABC senior producer of RSG Current Affairs Suna Venter. Venter’s body was discovered on Thursday morning at her flat in Fairlands.

“Venter was 32-year-old at the time of her passing. She 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.

“Venter made headlines last year when she was suspended from the public broadcaster, along with a number of colleagues who would later be known as the SABC 8. The group was suspended after they voiced their concerns about unlawful interference in the newsrooms and illegal editorial policies that were being implemented at the SABC. Specifically, those editorial policies pertaining to the broadcast of violent protests.

“They were summarily dismissed, but later reinstated by the Labour Court after their dismissals were found to be wrongful. 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.

“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 fact. During the past year, she was assaulted on three various occasions.

“Those closest to her believe that her condition was exacerbated, if not caused, by the events of the past year.”

Watch Suna Venter speaking about the threats to her safety in November 2016

Today has been a horrific day for South African media – with a group of protesters gathering outside journalist Peter Bruce’s home in Joburg with placards, threats and intimidation following his article about the price he’s paid for writing about the Gupta’s. The protestors accused him of “murdering” the truth, hiding corruption and being a “propagandist” of so-called White Monopoly Capital.

Business Day editor Tim Cohen was allegedly assaulted when he arrived on the scene.

On Wednesday evening, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said South Africa’s media space can no longer afford to be dominated by only a few big players, and that “Government would do everything possible to throw its weight behind small media companies and new entrants in the industry”.

She was speaking at the launch of a new opinions and news analysis online publication called Real Politik, a publication started by former journalists which is wholy black-owned and which she said, will give a chance to the “unheard voices” in the country through its online platform.