EFF to oppose Sanef's 'attempt to silence us' in Equality Court

The EFF has vowed to oppose the South African National Editors' Forum's (Sanef's) Equality Court challenge.

This after Sanef announced earlier on Wednesday that it had lodged a complaint with the Equality Court against the party and its leader Julius Malema, in an attempt to stop them from harassing and threatening journalists.

The party described the court action as "an attempt to silence us from challenging certain media personalities and journalists".

National spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the EFF would challenge the application, as it was based on a "sick, self-preoccupied attempt to suppress criticism of embedded journalism and the media".

Sanef has said it approached the court to defend media freedom and to seek protection from "sustained" intimidation and threats against journalists by Malema and his supporters.

ALSO READ: Sanef approaches Equality Court in bid to stop threats and intimidation from Malema, EFF

The forum, and a number of senior journalists and editors, have also called for an apology from Malema and his party.

The EFF, however, has defended its claims that a number of senior journalists and political analysts are part of the "Ramaphosa Defence Force". The party claims that the individuals are part of a campaign, through their positions in the media, to discredit and undermine any opposition to Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

"The EFF names these people in their works, and they have shown their colours. They are no longer engaged in independent, non-partisan and neutral journalistic pursuit. They have descended in the arena, and act like politicians. As such, they must be responded to as politicians," Ndlozi said.

Sanef's lawyers lodged the complaint with the Equality Court on Tuesday.

Along with the apology, Sanef is seeking an interdict that will prevent Malema and the EFF from intimidating, harassing, threatening or assaulting journalists. This includes acts of intimidation or harassment on any platforms, including social media.

ALSO READ: Political analyst Karima Brown lays charges against EFF member over threatening message

It is also seeking to prevent Malema or his party from publishing journalists' personal information.

In a statement, Sanef said it "did not take this decision to institute legal action against the EFF lightly".

It noted that, while it believed in "the South African way of resolving disputes around a table", attempts to meet the party and its leadership had been unsuccessful.

ALSO READ: EFF refuses to meet with South African National Editors' Forum

The party in the meantime has distanced itself from any links to violent threats.

"No leader or structure of the EFF has ever called on violence with the media or journalists. No leader of the EFF has even called on any journalist's house address to be published. Instead, it is the leaders of EFF, whose home addresses are published and displayed through GPS images," Ndlozi said.

Ndlozi was referring to the publishing of Malema's home address on Twitter by freelance journalist and author Jacques Pauw earlier this month. 

Sanef condemned the tweet by Pauw, which he later removed.

ALSO READ: Sanef condemns publication of Malema's home address

The tweet had been sparked by the publication of an exposé by Eyewitness News on the alleged funding of Malema's house by a private businessman, Adriano Mazzotti.

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