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SANEF is concerned about whistle-blowers and disinformation campaign

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) will be writing to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) to urgently request clarity on a supposed investigation into whistleblowers in the department.

Whistleblowers in public and private institutions are at the heart of unearthing corruption and malfeasance in government and the private sector. Journalists will not be able to expose corruption without their assistance.

It is concerning to note media reports that the DPE has allegedly initiated internal investigations aimed at unmasking whistleblowers. This follows reports about the qualifications of the department’s chief of staff, Ms Nthabiseng Borotho.

SANEF notes the DPE’s statement that these are not bona fide whistleblowers but corrupt individuals using whistleblowing to divert attention from the department’s efforts to investigate wrongdoing. We will be seeking clarity from the department.

The Protected Disclosures Act no 26 of 2000 makes provision for procedures in terms of which employees – in both the public and private sector – who disclose information, are protected from occupational harm. We believe that these principles need to be upheld.

Thuma Mina WhatsApp Group

SANEF is concerned about a disinformation campaign on social media, seeking to link senior journalists, including SANEF members, to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “Thuma Mina” campaign.

The campaign centres on a WhatsApp group set up by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) staff and named after the “Thuma Mina” service delivery programme (as opposed to the same name of the ANC’s election campaign).

According to information in SANEF’s possession, the group comprised a wide range of journalists from most media houses and it is purely used to share government information and press statements. It is one of the hundreds of WhatsApp groups that the government, political parties and private organisations use to disseminate information to journalists.

There is nothing nefarious or underhanded about the group and SANEF calls on those spreading disinformation about journalists to cease doing so.

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 the 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

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director – (082) 926-6404

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: admin@sanef.org.za  Website: www.sanef.org.za

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