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SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) press statement on the death of Anton Hammerl

20 May 2011

SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) press statement on the death of Anton Hammerl

A Sanef delegation met with the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Pretoria this morning (Friday, 20 May) to discuss the death of Anton Hammerl.

The Minister was accompanied by the Austrian Ambassador to South Africa Otto Ditz and senior department officials.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and Ambassador Ditz briefed the Sanef delegation on efforts made to establish the whereabouts of Hammerl and to secure his release.

The efforts included constant contact with the highest levels of the Libyan Government and the redeployment of South Africa’s Ambassador to Libya, Mohammed Dangor who had been evacuated from the war-torn country a few months ago. Dangor’s sole mission in Libya was to find Hammerl.

The minister and ambassador explained they had been assured all along by the Libyan authorities that Hammerl was alive and only discovered otherwise when briefed by the journalists who were freed yesterday.

The Sanef delegation urged the SA government to do all in its power to find Hammerl’s body, to ensure he can have a decent burial and that everything be done to support his family.

South Africa’s journalistic community joins Anton’s family and friends in mourning his death.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Penny Sukhraj and their children, and his family and friends.

Sanef Chairperson Mondli Makhanya said Anton was “a superb photographer and a brave journalist who always went out a thousand extra miles to bring home news and images to the world.”

Issued by the SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)