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Army deployment is nothing extraordinary, says SABC employee

The SABC offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. File photo: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

The SABC offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. File photo: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 8, 2021

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The deployment of the army is common practice when situations of unrest arise, an SABC employee said on Sunday.

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“Remember, SABC is also a National Key Point. So it’s really nothing extraordinary,” said the employee.

This comes as the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was on Saturday deployed to the SABC’s Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal premises following the recent deadly looting which ravaged the two provinces.

SABC spokesperson Gugu Ntuli confirmed that the SANDF has not been deployed to their Cape Town and Gqeberha offices.

Ntuli added that, as a National Key Point delivering an essential service to the nation and considering the recent attacks on SABC journalists, it was deemed necessary that the physical premises and the employees working in these offices be protected.

She said the deployment was at most of its National Key Point premises around the country, including its headquarters in Auckland Park.

Defence analyst Helmoed Heitman said the deployment of the SANDF to the public broadcaster is of no significance unless the Presidency has been informed of an insurrection.

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“I think this is probably just precautionary in case people want to cause trouble in the country again. In history, the first thing that’s always done when staging a coup is an attack on the broadcasting centres. Protecting the SABC buildings is probably part of a standard roll-out plan because when there is unrest in an area, you automatically do that,” said Heitman.

He added: “There are contingency plans. When there’s unrest, there’s a list of things or buildings which need to be protected. I don’t think there is anything sinister. However, it is possible that they have the intelligence that someone plans to occupy the buildings, but more likely it is just a routine of what they do in these situations.”

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