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SACP expresses its message of condolences to Suna Venter`s family, condemns intimidations and threats to its leaders and media workers

30 June 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) notes with sadness the death of Suna Venter, one of the "SABC Eight" who defied attempts to censor television coverage of popular protests.

We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

Suna was a courageous, professional TV producer absolutely committed to the public-interest vision that has been increasingly diluted at the SABC by those who produced governance, administrative and editorial decay that almost destroyed the public broadcaster and collapsed it financially.

We are proud to have shared a platform with Suna during SACP-led protests over her suspension and that of her SABC Eight colleagues last year. We draw some solace from the fact that she lived to see the defeat and dismissal of those who tried to stop her serving our people, if not yet SABC`s rebirth as a true South African public broadcaster.

But, like Comrade Solly Mapaila, our own Second Deputy General Secretary, our leaders who have been invasively followed and surveyed, Suna was also subject to a sustained campaign of intimidation, sabotage and abuse - no doubt directed and funded by sources cast in the same mould.

They shot her in the face with a pellet gun, slashed her car brake cables and repeatedly broke into her flat.

The effects of this vicious campaign contributed to a severe heart condition, stress cardiomyopathy. The thugs who harassed her - and the shadowy figures behind the campaign against her - have much to answer for.

We mourn Suna`s passing, and will not forget her quiet, humble courage.

Let us build the broadest possible patriotic front, deal a blow to intimidation and threats, defend and deepen our democracy!

Yesterday`s outrageous, seven-hour siege of the home of journalist and former Business Day editor Peter Bruce is the latest manifestation of a concerted campaign. This appears to have been funded and directed by a small but vicious group of capitalist thieves bent on silencing all criticism of their blatant looting of the South African state.

Last month a group employing similar tactics surrounded the home of our own Second Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila - just a few weeks after an unknown rogue element aimed a gun him at the commemoration of the assassination of our former SACP General Secretary, Comrade Chris Hani.

As SACP, we agree with Peter Bruce on very little, either politically or economically. But he is a South African and a journalist, and the Constitution, for which so many thousands of our people gave their lives and liberty, guarantees him the right to express his opinions, free of the kind of rent-a-thug harassment to which he and Mapaila - and many others - have been subjected.

The siege of his home, as police stood by, passively watching, and the blatant racism expressed by the crowd of elements who appeared to have been rented, seems to have been triggered by his latest published article "The price of writing about the Guptas" which appeared shortly before the elements arrived on his doorstep.

That article was a response to the appearance some days ago on a fake website of what looked like an equally fake report on his private life. That report was itself an outrageous invasion of his privacy. It appeared to have been funded and directed by the same parasitic interests behind the atmosphere of rising intimidation and threats in our country.

As the SACP, we are increasingly angered by the freedom with which private, rented mobs are being allowed to undertake violent and ugly campaigns of intimidation aimed at silencing critics of the Gupta family`s nefarious activities and their networked or other ilk.

As a society, we cannot allow this kind of above-the-law attitude, so evocative of apartheid-era brutality, to return to our streets. And we must recognise that our passivity in the face of this fundamentally illegal conduct will return to haunt us. We would do well to remember the words of anti-Nazi activist Martin Niemöller: "When they came for the socialists, I did not speak out for I was not a socialist …" and the chilling ending to his lecture: "Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."

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