Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) has called on police to take action against leaders and members of Black First Land First (BLF) for continued attempts to intimidate journalists.
The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday granted the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) an urgent interdict against BLF.
This after the party held demonstrations outside journalist Peter Bruce’s house and intimidated and threatened several others.
Chaos also broke out outside of court on Friday when BLF members continued to threaten journalists.
“Immediately after the court order to interdict them against the intimidation of journalists, they did exactly the opposite,” said ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa on Saturday.
BLF has since said in a public statement it will no longer protest outside the homes of journalists and “never intended to harm them in any way”.
Kodwa said that law enforcement had to take action against those responsible for intimidating journalists in order to restore the court’s integrity.
BLF has been targeting journalists which it labelled as racist, calling others “Askaris” [an apartheid era term for those who switched sides from fighting for liberation to spying for the apartheid regime].
“Police have the responsibility [to ensure] that we cannot undermine the right of citizens, a right to information, to undermine journalists, to undermine press freedom in a manner which includes intimidation using violence,” said Kodwa.
Police must restore the credibility of the courts and arrest these thugs, he added.
On Saturday, Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula said he welcomed the court’s decision to grant Sanef the interdict.
He also called on BLF to stop harassing journalists.
“Ours is to uphold the rule of law and we expect everyone to respect the court judgment. The Police will not hesitate to act against those who want to undermine the decisions of the court,” said Mbalula in a statement.
“Journalist cannot and must never be silenced. They form a critical part of our democracy, they inform and educate our people. They are the voice of the voiceless and marginalised South Africans”.