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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Rebecca Davis.]

The burglary at the SABC’s Parliament offices on Friday night is the latest in what appears to be a trend of theft, harassment and intimidation targeted at journalists, activists, dissenting politicians and whistle-blowers in South Africa. This is not new: groups like Right2Know have been raising concerns about this for some years. But the brazenness with which such activities are undertaken appears to be rising.

SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata left his office at Parliament at around 2.30pm on Friday. For the previous three days he had been working on a piece related to the upcoming Freedom Day celebrations, and Friday was his editing day. Having completed his work, he left early.

“On Saturday morning, I got a call from my colleague asking if I had taken my laptop with me,” Calata told the Daily Maverick. He had not. “Then she told me that her laptop isn’t there either, and neither are other colleagues’, and she suspects they were stolen.” Calata has not returned to the office since, as he has been working from Johannesburg, but has spoken to his other colleagues to verify that other laptops were indeed taken from the office. No other electronic equipment was targeted.

The burglary at the SABC’s offices makes a mockery of the increasingly draconian security measures introduced by Parliament over recent years. No signs were found of forced entry at the offices, which are in a building which is supposed to be guarded by police.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in December 2018 (CPI) & +5.2 y/y in December 2018 (PPI)
2.2% q/q (3rd quarter of 2018)
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