BLF - We have fully complied with court order, 'racist' Sanef is grandstanding

2017-07-09 16:14
BLF members outside court. (Twitter Screengrab)

BLF members outside court. (Twitter Screengrab)

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Cape Town – Black First Land First (BLF) has remained defiant, saying it has fully complied with a court order relating to the intimidation and harassment of journalists, despite the SA National Editor's Forum (Sanef) saying it has not.

BLF held a press conference in Johannesburg on Sunday.

News24 on Saturday reported that Sanef, through its lawyers, gave BLF until 10:00 on Sunday to send out a revised statement after it said it had failed to comply with the court order in at least two aspects.

But leader Andile Mngxitama on Sunday said BLF learned of the 10:00 deadline via the News24 report and claimed that Sanef had approached Naspers chair Koos Bekker, not BLF, to push ahead with the matter.

"Who do they think they are?... 

"Sanef behaved like a politician that just arrived from London with lots of British pounds. They’re grandstanding."

Mngxitama said BLF "fully" complied with the court order.

Suggestions otherwise were an "impression created by white media."

Mngxitama advised journalists to ask Sanef if racists had a right to be racist.

He claimed Sanef did not support black journalists.

Not directed at black people

He insisted that BLF had abided by the court order, that the organisation had the right to protest and that their actions were “never directed at black people”.

Mngxitama claimed the public was being told that racism was not important, and that the media was instead focusing on Nkandla and the Gupta leaks.

“They want us to apologise for fighting against racism."

BLF “understands there is no struggle without sacrifice”, Mngxitama said.

“We understand this and accept it as our duty. We are not afraid to go to jail in the struggle against racism.

“We are ready to suffer to get back our land, country and dignity. We are at absolute peace with that, because that it what is going to be required for us to get to where we must go.”

Mngxitama took an apparent swipe at police minister Fikile Mbalula, who on Saturday called on BLF to stop harassing journalists.

He said journalists at the press conference expected BLF members to be arrested by Mbalula once they left.

Sober mind

"I can assure you nothing is going to happen to us."

Mngxitama said policing needed a sober mind.

He conveyed a message to Mbalula: "Please take your job seriously second time around."

These latest developments come after BLF members and Mngxitama were interdicted from intimidating and assaulting journalists, and going to their homes, in the South Gauteng High Court last Friday.

Sanef headed to court for an urgent interdict after several journalists were threatened.

'Land or death' 

Business Day editor Tim Cohen was also allegedly assaulted and Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce was intimidated when a small group of placard-carrying BLF members gathered outside his Johannesburg home more than a week ago, writing "Land or death" on his garage wall.

Judge Corrie van der Westhuizen ruled that BLF must issue a statement stipulating that it did not condone actions of intimidation; harassment; assaults; threats; coming to their homes; or acting in any manner that would constitute an infringement of any journalist’s personal liberty.

It was also ordered to state that it did not condone threatening or intimidating gestures on social media, including on their website, and individual Twitter pages that reference any violence, harm and threats against journalists.

Mngxitama on Sunday said BLF “welcomed” the clarification that private homes are not zones of protests.

“Indeed protesting at the Gupta family home is as undesirable as protesting at the home of Peter Bruce,” he said.

ALSO READ: Sanef gives BLF deadline to denounce intimidation, threats against journalists 

In its court-ordered statement, BLF assured all applicants that the organisation would not, and had never intended to, harm them in any way.

"Our fight is with racism and BLF shall continue to use our fundamental right to protest to counter any acts of racism. Only the end of racism shall ensure enduring peace for all in a just society where all citizens shall have equal substantive rights," the statement read.

"BLF reserves its rights to protest as per the rights quaranteed (sic) in the Constitution. Our protest will be directed at racists and never at black people because blacks can’t be racist – even those who we may consider as being aids to white supremacy have immunity from any protest." 

Read more on:    blf  |  sanef  |  andile mngxitama  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  media

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