BLF members sling insults at journalist moments after judgment

2017-07-07 18:20
BLF activists wave their flag as they leave the Johannesburg High Court. (Marco Longari, AFP)

BLF activists wave their flag as they leave the Johannesburg High Court. (Marco Longari, AFP)

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WATCH: 'You are a sell-out' - BLF to Lekota after Sanef granted interdict

2017-07-07 17:25

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, while attempting to show his solidarity with the media and press freedom, was accosted and called a 'sell-out' by BLF members on Friday after Sanef were successfully granted an interdict at the Johannesburg High Court. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg – Just minutes after Judge Corrie van der Westhuizen ordered Black First Land First (BLF) to refrain from intimidating journalists, a heated verbal exchange erupted between a journalist and members of the group outside the courtroom.

Insults were hurled at veteran journalist and political commentator, Karima Brown, outside courtroom F on the ninth floor, shortly after the court ordered BLF to stop intimidating and threatening journalists.

Van der Westhuizen ordered the organisation to refrain from making threatening statements on social media. He gave the BLF 12 hours to issue a public statement to its members ordering them to refrain from intimidating journalists.

The organisation has to foot the legal bill.

Court proceedings

The ruling comes after the South African National Editors Forum filed an urgent interdict against the BLF, asking it to stop intimidating and threatening journalists.

Shortly after the judgment was handed down members of the BLF led by their leader, Andile Mngxitama, unleashed verbal insults on Brown.  

Pointing his finger at Brown, Mngxitama repeatedly shouted, "You are black, you are not white".

Also read: Sanef gives BLF deadline to denounce intimdation, threats against journalists

Brown, also pointing her finger back at members of the BLF, defended herself saying, "You are a hired gun for the Guptas. You are fascist. I am not afraid of you. Stop beating us up, stop race bating. I am not with you".

Sanef’s Sam Mkhokheli shielded Brown from BLF members until tensions eased.

Outside court, Brown said on Thursday a member of the BLF had their foot behind her back during court proceedings. She said another person, who identified themselves as a member of the PAC and reeked of alcohol said black journalists were puppets.

Brown said she found it interesting that black men in the BLF were telling black female journalists that "we cannot think for ourselves; that we are agents of white monopoly capital and our bosses...it makes a mockery of their defence for black people".

Power of words

Sanef chairperson and News24’s politics editor, Mahlatse Gallens, condemned BLF’s conduct.

"It is unfortunate that within minutes of the judgment being delivered we had our reporters, editors and commentators being insulted, harassed and threatened by the BLF. It is important now for the police to take action.  We have taken the matter as far as we can, which was to bring it to the court because we wanted to uphold the rule of law...we wanted to defend journalists so that they be able to do their work".

Gallens said members of the BLF had targeted journalists who had written in-depth stories on allegations of corruption and state capture.

"We will not be deterred. Journalists understand the power of their words; we understand that ours is work based on facts and we will continue to do that".

Comply with court order

News24 editor Adriaan Basson said he was relieved by the judgment.

"The judge has acknowledged the vital role played by the media in exposing corruption and holding power to account. BLF’s ultimate goal was to silence us on behalf of their funders. They have failed".

Basson said it was clear BLF and Mngxitama had no desire to comply with the court order and that it was now up to the police to protect journalists in carrying out their duties.

"There is an interdict. If BLF violates it, they should be arrested and locked up, as simple as that".

Congress of the People’s Mosiuoa Lekota and ACDP’s Kenneth Meshoe were also in attendance to support Sanef. 

Criminal act

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama said his organisation was fighting criminality.

"Peter Bruce, Alec Hogg and all those white journalists… they have no right to be racist. If they are going to write any racist material, we are going to protest against them".

Mngxitama said BLF would not tolerate racism.

"Any white journalists that thinks that this judgment will allow them to be racist is wrong, mistaken and they are misled. Any act of racism is a criminal act".

Read more on:    blf  |  sanef  |  johannesburg

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