Sanef wants BLF leader’s arrest and jail time ordered over media intimidation

2017-08-07 18:51
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama was barred from entering a media event at the CTICC. (Paul Herman/News24)

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama was barred from entering a media event at the CTICC. (Paul Herman/News24)

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Cape Town - The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) wants Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama arrested and jailed for 90 days if he is found to be in contempt of court, and if he afterwards again crosses the legal line.

Sanef wants the High Court in Johannesburg to hear the matter, set down for Tuesday, as an urgent application.

A notice of motion in the matter said it wanted the court to rule that BLF and Mngxitama were in contempt of an order handed down in the South Gauteng High Court on July 7.

In this matter the court ordered Mngxitama and BLF members to stop intimidating journalists.

'Campaign to silence us' - BLF

Minutes after the interdict was granted though, there was a heated exchange of words between BLF members and journalists.

On Monday BLF national spokesperson Zanele Lwana said it had no hope that the latest legal action would end favourably towards BLF.

“We strongly believe this is a well coordinated campaign to silence BLF.”

She said BLF did not view the matter as an urgent one.

“It’s in no way going to tame us or change our way in which we’re fighting mainstream media.”

Lwana said BLF viewed mainstream media as “unjust” as it peddled fake news, especially when it came to the topic of regime change.

Contempt of court and jail

The notice of motion in the latest matter said Sanef wanted the court to find Mngxitama and BLF in contempt of the July 7 order.

“Mngxitama is to be arrested and imprisoned for a period of 3 months (90 days) immediately upon the granting of this order, such order for arrest and imprisonment being suspended indefinitely,” it said.

This meant if Mngxitama was found to have been in contempt of court, his arrest and the jail time should be suspended.

If he then acts in a way defying the previous court order, the suspension will be lifted and his arrest and imprisonment would go ahead.

Sanef also wanted BLF or Mngxitama to pay the Department of Justice R100 000 within seven days if the order it was seeking was granted.

It also asked for the extension of the relief ordered by the South Gauteng High Court on July 7.

This included interdicting BLF and Mngxitama from intimidating or harassing any journalists, and from making intimidating gestures on social media and the BLF website.

Confrontations

Last Thursday, August 3, BLF members tried to enter a Daily Maverick event, “The Gathering,” at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, but were stopped by security.

Mngxitama had also been present and made a speech from behind ropes as he was denied access.

The week before, Mngxitama and a small group of BLF members disrupted a discussion on state capture in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

On July 27, BLF caused disruptions at an amaBhungane town hall event, "Inside the #GuptaLeaks", also in Braamfontein.

amaBhungane said that Mngxitama and his members disrupted the event and pushed amaBhungane journalist Stefaans Brümmer, before shouting, "You fuck with me".

BLF however lodged a complaint of assault and racism at the Hillbrow police station after a "white man" allegedly hit Mngxitama at the event.

These incidents happened despite the July 7 court order.

Sanef filed its founding affidavit in the latest matter electronically last Tuesday and physically on BLF and its lawyers last Wednesday morning.

It gave BLF until the close of business last Thursday to file an answering affidavit, but it did not.

BLF on Monday told News24 it planned to file its response by the end of the day.

The organisation was also embroiled in other court action.

On Monday, 26 BLF members appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence and trespassing.

This relates to an incident involving members who allegedly stormed former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s office.

The matter was postponed to November.

Read more on:    blf  |  sanef  |  andile mngxitama

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