We’re sorry, ANC tells journalists

2012-06-27 15:26

The ANC has profusely apologised for the incident in which six journalists had their accreditation tags confiscated and a photographer’s photos were deleted by ANC security guards.

“It is not ANC policy that delegates are not allowed to speak to the media,” ANC policy head Jeff Radebe said at a press conference this afternoon.
“We apologise profusely.”

He said the ANC would talk to the security guards about this and gave the assurance that it would not happen again.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu added: “I hope the security guards aren’t here right now, but security is security. Even ANC security does things at times that amaze us.”

The tags were returned to them.

Around lunch time outside the buildings in the Gallagher Convention Centre complex in Midrand, Nickolaus Bauer from the Mail&Guardian said: “We weren’t trying to interview anyone. We were just looking around. They said: ‘Give me my accreditation back. You are not coming back tomorrow.”

Bauer, Lauren Clifford-Holmes, Werner Beukes, Kevin Sutherland, Jabu Kumalo and photographer Oupa Nkosi had their tags taken away.
Pictures were also deleted from Nkosi’s camera.

City Press witnessed the incident, during which a security guard who works at Luthuli House, manhandled the journalists and forcefully took back the tags from the strings around the journalists’ necks.

The journalists asked for reasons to no avail.

Other journalists in the vicinity were not targeted.

The incident happened soon after ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza briefed journalists on new security arrangements, which prohibited journalists from entering demarcated areas in the complex while closed sessions were in progress.

But during breaks journalists were told they would be allowed to mingle freely with delegates.

Bauer tweeted: “What I fail to understand is, security allowed us into this area with their blessing. Does right hand not know what left is doing?”

Khoza told journalists at the earlier briefing delegates who leaked information from closed sessions limited the debates because people felt less comfortable about speaking out.

“When sources go and leak what is said in (closed) commissions, it limits people what they can say in commissions. We can’t say you can’t be here, but let’s say at certain times you can’t be here,” he said.

The briefing came amid rumours by detractors of President Jacob Zuma that they have successfully shot down the ANC’s “second transition” proposal.

Zuma’s detractors yesterday said the second transition, or economic transformation, an issue Zuma has been pushing hard, was being rejected “in all commissions” during discussions last night and this morning by “the forces for change”.

Discussions in the 11 commissions discussing the second transition, which forms part of the ANC’s strategy and tactics document, are set to continue and commissions are set to report back tomorrow.

Other delegates – some anti-Zuma – however denied that this was the case. A Zuma supporter said it looked like the proposal would be accepted by all commissions.

Journalists were notified by email last night that they should only use the back entrance of the complex on yesterday and today while closed sessions are in progress, so that they don’t have to enter through the hall where the sessions would take place.

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