BLF members are 'fascist thugs', says Vavi's trade union

2017-07-04 17:19

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Cape Town - Accusations of fascism are cropping up following the intimidation of journalists by members of the organisation Black First Land First (BLF).

The trade union South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), led by Zwelinzima Vavi, on Tuesday labelled the BLF members "fascist thugs" in a press release.

Saftu also said it "strongly denounces" the harassment and intimidation of editors and journalists.

"The intimidatory pickets outside an editor's home by members of the so-called 'Black First - Land First' group, part of the faction of corrupt crony capitalists, is an attack not just on individuals, but on all media outlets and on every South African's constitutional right to freedom of expression and to share information and opinions," its statement said.

They describe this tactic as "part of a systematic drive by the corrupt faction to hollow out all institutions that support democracy".

READ: Sanef, journalists ask court for urgent interdict against 'harassing' BLF

'Captured' institutions

Saftu says with the National Prosecuting Authority, the Public Protector and state-owned enterprises "captured", and the ANC, SACP and Cosatu "reduced to impotent shadows of their former selves", there is now a process underway to try and intimidate, capture and silence the media and the courts.

President Jacob Zuma's criticism of the judiciary in his opening address to the ANC policy conference was also cited as an example of this.

The federation said it would continue to fight for a truly independent media which reflects all the people of SA, but it would also fight against any attempts to censor any media, especially those who stood up and opposed corruption and plundering.

After its website was closed down, BLF reverted to a Wordpress blog to get its message out.

In a statement posted on the blog, BLF alleged that "white monopoly capital" was behind the closure of its website.

"We are not surprised by this fascist behaviour because BLF is the only revolutionary movement in direct conflict with white monopoly capital," the statement said.

"We believe the shutting down of our webpage is directly linked to the BLF campaign to force ABSA to pay back the money and our quest to combat racism and cover-ups of corruption by the white owned media. The agents of racism that claim to stand for media freedom are the biggest threat to freedom, including media freedom."

The statement said while BLF had not taken away anyone's right to speak out, it had been gagged.

READ: Parliamentary committee slams intimidation of journalists

SAHRC concern

On Monday the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) also expressed its concern about the intimidation of journalists.

"The commission therefore calls on the BFLF group to immediately cease intimidating and harassing journalists and further calls on this group, and on all who reside within the republic, to respect and protect the media’s right to operate without fear or favour," reads the SAHRC's statement.

BLF tweeted that they were not surprised that the SAHRC "only believes that whites are human".

On Tuesday morning the South African National Editors Forum asked the High Court for an urgent interdict to prevent BLF from intimidating the 11 journalists it publicly stated it would "deal with".

BLF is led by Andile Mngxitama, a former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP and a fervent supporter of the controversial Gupta family.


Read more on:    saftu  |  blf  |  cape town  |  politics

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