Journalist attacked and mugged in PE protest

2015-07-27 18:29
Luvuyo Mehlwana (Mkhuseli Sizani)

Luvuyo Mehlwana (Mkhuseli Sizani)

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WATCH: Police fire rubber bullets at protesting children in PE

2015-07-27 17:33

News24 journalist on the ground, Ahmed Areff, shot this video of police firing rubber bullets at children on an embankment - who were pelting a nearby police van with rocks in the aftermath of protests in Port Elizabeth. Watch. WATCH

Port Elizabeth - A Daily Sun journalist was hit over the head and robbed during a violent protest in Port Elizabeth on Monday. 

"They just hit me from behind with something on my head. There were about eight of them and they all looked like they were in their 20s," Luvuyo Mehlwana told News24. 

"It was on Stanford Road [in Helenvale], at around 10:00am. They searched me and took everything."

He said his laptop, cellphone, camera and wallet were stolen. 

"A cameraman from eTV found my camera later. But all the pictures were gone."

He said the incident was traumatic and he was taking time to rest. 

"We just came from the doctor now, and he gave me pain medication."

Sanef condemn incident

Mehlwana's head injury did not require any stitches. 

The SA National Editors Forum condemned the incident. 

"Mehlwana has since opened a case of assault and theft at the Algoa Park police station," chairperson of Sanef's Media Freedom Committee Adrian Basson said. 

"Sanef will closely monitor the investigation by the police.

"Sanef would like to take this opportunity to remind communities that journalists’ primary responsibilities are to give expression to the public’s right to know. And such expression is infringed by any conduct that seek to prevent journalists from carrying out their duties.

"It is therefore in the interests of the community for journalists to be protected from such criminal elements."

As this News24 reporter was driving down the same stretch of road later on Monday, a group of six children jumped into the road and pelted his car with rocks before running away. 

By 16:30, police were making their way up Stanford Road to try and clean up burning branches and rocks that blocked the road. 

Children threw stones at police

At one point, a group of children from houses overlooking the road pelted a police van with rocks. The officers got out and fired rubber bullets to disperse them. 

Residents told News24 they were protesting because there was a shortage of teachers in the schools in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas.

"Education is a human right. We want to ask them [government] why they want to do this in the coloured areas," Buston Bosch, 51, told News24. 

"I went to the so-called white areas and they don't have problems like this.

"It is only when things like this happen, then you see the people [officials] come to the area."

He said if any other party besides the ANC won the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in next year's local government elections, then things could change for residents. 

Leroy Macgas, 22, said after police fired tear gas, his one-year-old daughter suffered chest pains. 

"She is ok now. But the small children and the old people are suffering with the tear gas."

He took News24 to a resident who had been shot in the face with a rubber bullet, but she declined to comment.

'There are 60 kids in one class'

Martin Hiles, 38, said he wanted the local schools to improve. 

"I don't want my child to grow up like how I grew up," he said. 

"There are 60 kids in one class, and there are no teachers. Kids don't go to school and then they become gangsters. 

"I don't want my children to grow up and become gangsters. I want them to go to school and then go to university."

Wayne van Wyk, 50, who said he was a chief with the Griqua Khoi clan, showed News24 one of his wounds from a rubber bullet. 

He said he had been negotiating with residents and the police earlier. He alleged that police fired rubber bullets.

"We told the police to stop shooting, which they did at first. But as we were coming back, the police fired rubber bullets."

He said teachers did not want to come to schools in Northern Areas because they were not getting paid. 

He then pointed out where a rubber bullet had gone through a window in a nearby home. 

A meeting was expected to be held with the Northern Areas Education Forum and residents at the nearby Arcadia High School at 18:00

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  education  |  protests

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