20 July 2023
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is appalled by the callous murder of veteran photographer, Bongani Mbatha on Tuesday evening.
Two men were seen allegedly fleeing the scene where Mbatha was found dead with several gunshots in Woody Glen, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
While SANEF is unclear about the motive of this brazen murder, we hope that the SA Police Service will work speedily in its investigation and arrest of the perpetrators, so that they can face the full might of the law.
We send our condolences to the Mbatha family, his colleagues, and friends.
Mbatha was not only an excellent photographer but was equally popular with industry colleagues in KZN, who described him as having an ever-ready smile.
Aziz Hartley, editor-in-chief at Independent Media, said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of our dear colleague. This is a difficult time for them and his co-workers at Isolezwe. Bongani was kind-hearted, hardworking and a talented lensman. His death came as a huge shock to his colleagues. We call on the police to do everything in their power to ensure his killers are put behind bars”.
Mazwi Xaba, who worked with Mbatha for a number of years at Independent Media, said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of our dear colleague. Bongani was kind-hearted, hardworking, and a talented lensman. His death came as a huge shock to his colleagues. We call on the police to do everything in their power to ensure his killers are put behind bars.”
Mbatha was described as a dauntless, hard-working and dedicated photojournalist.
His death has intensified SANEF’s growing concerns about the safety of journalists – not only as they go about doing their work but also in their own homes.
SANEF has also learnt with sadness that Daily Sun entertainment editor, Welcome Skosana, died on Wednesday night, 19 July.
Welcome worked as an entertainment editor for Daily Sun between 2005 and 2011, and as a journalist for City Press between 1999 and 2005.
Former Sowetan LIVE entertainment editor, Lesley Mofokeng, worked closely with Welcome when he was still a journalist at City Press.
“I knew him as an entertainment journalist. We covered the same stories when he was at City Press, and I was at the Sunday Times. I thought he was very polite, and he loved to laugh. I remember that. He was also sharing. At the time, our idea of journalism was to have scoops, so we’d keep things to ourselves and make sure stories waited until Sunday.
“In an environment like that, it’s easy to become selfish and forget humanity, but never Welcome,” he said.
Singer Machance described Skosana as a “good and humble person” who made barcadi music popular.
“I last spoke to him about three weeks ago when he was going to visit his father-in-law in Kimberley because he was ill. I got to know him in 2006. He called me asking to do a story about me because barcadi music was making waves, and I was one of the people doing it. I went to the Daily Sun office, and he did my story.
“He didn’t just write about me but wrote about Mujava and Bojo Mujo as well. We kept in contact even after he left Daily Sun. His death comes as a shock to me,” he said.
May their souls rest in peace.
Note to Editors:
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.
For more information please contact:
Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415
Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972
Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621
Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708
Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695
Email: [email protected]