Montana threatens to 'beat the hell out of' News24 journalist on World Press Freedom Day

2018-05-03 20:04
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana has threatened violence against a former News24 journalist who revealed that his R13.5m property was partly funded with money that can be traced back to a beneficiary of dodgy contracts worth R4bn from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Pieter-Louis Myburgh wrote a story on April 30 explaining how money from controversial Pretoria tender mogul Mario Ferreira found its way to his former business partner before the latter used it to buy a sprawling property of more than 6 000m2 in the sought-after Johannesburg suburb of Hurlingham.

The property was then registered in Montana's name, even though it was paid for by third parties linked to Ferreira.

Montana tweeted on Thursday: "I've been writing a lot to respond to this idiot. I asked him the questions to demonstrate there's no substance to what he writes other than a personal vendetta. I will no longer entertain him. The next step is to search for this guy around JHB and beat the hell out of him."

When News24 contacted Montana about his tweet, he said: "I wrote it, the tweet is there, it's for you to write whatever you want to write guys. I don't need to confirm or reject anything," he said.

In his tweets, Montana defended himself against those who accused him of threatening a journalist by labelling Myburgh an "agent".

'To hell with' World Press Freedom Day

"He is not a journalist. The free press and journalist are protected by the Constitution. I do not regard this one as a journalist but a legitimate target for me," tweeted Montana.

Fellow journalists reacted with disbelief to Montana's threat, viewing his tweet as a threat to media freedom.


Montana hit back: "Get Adriana (sic) Basson to get Sanef (South African National Editors' Forum) to issue a statement of condemnation. I urge Sanef to use strong words this time. I have no place for Sanef."

When Myburgh tweeted to Montana: "On #worldpressfreedomday", Montana retorted, saying nothing would stop him.

"If the meaning of freedom is to violate me, injure my dignity and hurt my family, to hell with worldfreedomday (sic). I am now on a warpath and nothing will stop me," he tweeted.

Threats 'despicable'

Myburgh told News24 that Montana's threats come on the back of his recent investigative piece on Montana.

"It detailed how R11.5m flowed from a Prasa contractor, via a series of share transactions, into a property bought for Montana," he said.

He said the former Prasa CEO has not been able to properly explain why third parties linked to a Prasa contractor bought a property for him.

"This has clearly infuriated Montana, hence the threats," Myburgh said.

He said Montana's comment could not have come at a worse time as Thursday was World Press Freedom Day.

"The press and other media have played a crucial role in unearthing the rot that had set in at state-owned entities and government departments. I, like my many brave colleagues in the industry, will not be deterred from performing a vital task protected by this country's hard-fought-for Constitution," he added.

'Our reports speak for themselves'

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson said Montana's threat of violence against Myburgh was despicable, "even more so on World Press Freedom Day".

"People gave their lives for us to have free press where journalists can investigate without fear or favour," he said.

Basson said Montana's threats of violence showed that he was not an individual who cared much about the rule of law.

"Our reports speak for themselves. Mr Montana is not able to refute what we have uncovered and now threatens us with violence. It shows the type of person we're dealing with," he said.

On Thursday evening Sanef's Katy Katopodis said Montana's actions were unacceptable.

"Should anyone – Lucky Montana included – have an issue with a journalist's work, then they need to go through official channels. They should feel free to contact the Press Ombudsman," she said.

Read more on:    lucky montana  |  media  |  corruption

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.