Family and friends pay tribute to the late Suna Venter

Johannesburg - Family, friends and colleagues came to pay tribute to senior SABC radio producer Suna Venter at a memorial service at the Dutch Reformed Church in Fairland, Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.

The church, situated on Smit Street, was almost packed to capacity with mourners, most of them dressed in black.

The church’s podium had three big screens that displayed Venter’s pictures.

Venter’s untimely death was due to a heart condition that may have been stress-related.

She was part of a group of eight SABC journalists who were fired, and seven later reinstated, for objecting to former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s policy of no longer airing footage of violent protests.

Spotted in the crowd of mourners were some of the SABC 8 journalists, including Thandeka Gqubule and Krivani Pillay.

Venter’s body was discovered in her Johannesburg flat on Thursday morning.

The 32-year-old had recently been diagnosed with a cardiac condition known as stress cardiomyopathy or “Broken Heart Syndrome”, which could cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness.

The SABC 8’s reinstatement and a subsequent parliamentary ad hoc committee investigation into the affairs of the SABC were lauded as a victory.

Despite this, she was the victim of continued intimidation, victimisation and death threats.

Over the past year, she also received threatening messages on her phone.

“Her flat was broken into on numerous occasions, the brake cables of her car were cut and her car’s tyres were slashed. She was shot at and abducted – tied to a tree at Melville Koppies while the grass around her was set alight,” her family said.

She was assaulted on three various occasions.

She is survived by her parents, Phillip and Christa Venter, and siblings Wilhelm and Tessa. DM


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