The EFF has denied trying to muzzle certain media houses by refusing to grant some journalists accreditation to its elective conference this weekend. Instead, the EFF says, it was due to a lack of capacity.
EFF secretary-general Gordrich Gardee said it would have been impossible to accommodate all the journalists who applied to attend their conference, as more than 600 had applied.
“Over 600 media personnel applied for accreditation which means they would make up 25% of the delegates, this would have been more than the security that we have at the venue which is unworkable,” said Gardee.
The secretary-general addressed those who managed to get accreditation on Friday at the party’s state of readiness press conference.
Earlier in the day, the South African National Editors forum (Sanef) accused the EFF of excluding specific media organisations from their events, and said this was “unconstitutional” and amounted to “intimidation”.
“Banning media organisations will deprive ordinary citizens of relevant information that could assist them in making informed choices on how to vote. Therefore, the real victims of this ban are the voters and citizens,” Sanef said.
The party is said to have denied accreditation specifically to media houses the Daily Maverick and it’s investigative unit Scorpio, as well as the Caxton group.
Responding to these accusations, Gardee said that inviting all the media would not have been practical.
He added that the EFF was entitled to choose who they allowed into their conference.
Gardee accused the Daily Maverick of masquerading as journalists.
“You should ask the Daily Maverick why they are not here. We as the EFF reserve the right of association, who we associate with and who we choose not to. We have held this view even during the days of ANN7 and that will not change.”
“If journalist behave like politicians then we will treat than as such,” said Gardee.
In total 3800 delegates are expected to attend the conference where the party is expected to vote for its new leadership, including its top six and central command team, on Saturday.
Many guests are expected to attend the conference including embassy delegates and guests from Namibia, Ghana and Zimbabwe.