Sanef backs journo's legal action against ex-Prasa boss

2015-08-08 09:31
Lucky Montana. (File, Lerato Maduna)

Lucky Montana. (File, Lerato Maduna)

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Johannesburg - The SA National Editors' Forum on Saturday said it was fully behind a Rapport journalist who was pursuing legal action against axed Prasa CEO Lucky Montana who he alleged threw a brick at him, denting a company car.

The alleged attack on Pieter-Louis Myburgh happened on Thursday night. 

"Sanef fully supports the pursuit of criminal charges against Montana and encourages Myburgh and his employer to also consider instituting a civil claim against him for this thuggish behaviour," it said in a statement. 

Sanef said it was outraged by the incident. 

Myburgh had been working on an investigation involving Montana’s Pretoria properties and was waiting outside a residence which was still under construction in Main Street earlier on Thursday, when Montana and another man arrived.

"He made a gesture with his fingers indicating 'I see you'. I took it as a bit of a threatening gesture."

Montana entered the property and Myburgh said he waited next to his work car in the street outside.

He said he did not set foot on the premises.

Myburgh got into his car, made a u-turn and stopped in front of the entrance to the property with his engine running and hazard lights on. He did not want to leave without stating his reason for being there, and asked one of the people outside if he could speak to Montana.

"They called him and I waited. It took a while. About a moment or two later, Mr Montana came out with a brick in his hand. My passenger window was open. I asked him 'can’t we talk?', but I was already moving."

"In my wild attempt to get out of there I almost collided with another vehicle in Main Street," Myburgh said. 

Unhurt, but shocked

He was unhurt but was shocked by the incident.

He opened a case at the Brooklyn police station.

"I’m appalled by the behaviour of an individual who, until recently, was leading an important state-owned company. It’s absolutely staggering," he said. 

At a press briefing in Johannesburg on July 17, a day after his dismissal, Montana had referred to Myburgh as "my friend".

Myburgh has reported extensively on Prasa's multi-million rand tenders to import new locomotives, which are apparently unsuitable for local railway lines, as they are too high and could damage overhead cables.

News24 repeatedly tried to contact Montana for comment. He could not be reached.

Photographer’s harassment 

Meanwhile, Sanef has also condemned the harassment of The Citizen photographer, Allister Russel by police earlier this week.

Russel had been covering a march by the EFF Student Common at the University of Johannesburg's Auckland Park campus on Wednesday when he was apprehended by police officers who did not want to be photographed. 

The police officers told him he would be 'in trouble' if their pictures appeared in the newspaper. 

"Police officers randomly harassed Russell during the protest and pushed him away whenever he tried to photograph the arrest of scores of young students," Sanef said. 

The matter would be taken to the office of national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega who had previously stated that journalists and photographers should be treated with respect at crime scenes.

Read more on:    prasa  |  lucky montana

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