File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ African News Agency(ANA).
The DA has called for the protection of SABC staff by the police after the attempted killing of a senior audit official at the public broadcaster.

Thami Zikode, who is part of SABC’s audit team, survived a shooting while in his car outside his home on Friday. A 32-year-old suspect was arrested in connection with an attempt on Zikode’s life.

On Sunday, the DA’s Phumzile van Damme said the police should immediately institute personal risk assessments on all staff members working to uncover corruption at the SABC and take steps to provide police protection for high risk individuals.

Van Damme said that while the DA welcomed news that suspects had been brought in for questioning, it remained clear that this was not an isolated incident.

“It’s a co-ordinated effort by a corrupt network that turned the SABC into their fiefdom and now face a real possibility of being exposed,” she said.

“This is not the first time that SABC staff members have been threatened and intimidated.

“The ‘SABC Eight’ endured unrelenting threats to their emotional and physical well-being, one of them eventually losing her life. To this day, SAPS investigations into the matter have yielded no fruit.”

Van Damme said the DA simply could not allow a repeat of this brazen lawlessness at the public broadcaster, more so against professionals working to uncover the rot that had become endemic during former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disastrous tenure.

“The DA looks forward to a thorough investigation of Thami Zikode’s case, including all the unsolved cases at the SABC, as a critical first step in restoring the SABC as a safe working place for all its employees.”

The SABC was the subject of an inquiry by Parliament two years ago and an ad hoc committee made recommendations on the rot at the public broadcaster.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela had issued a damning report into corruption at the SABC a few years ago.

The Special Investigating Unit was also conducting an investigation following several allegations of corruption. The SABC is facing a financial crisis and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said during his budget speech in Parliament that the company needed a cash injection of R6.8 billion.

Almost 10 years ago the SABC was plunged into another cash crunch and the National Treasury gave it a guarantee of R1bn. This allowed it to go to the banks to seek funds, but it was able to repay the R1bn it owed Nedbank. However, its cash crisis has deepened in recent years as it suffered billions of rand in losses.

The Star