Daily Maverick to report on EFF Assembly despite ban, while eNCA cancels coverage

EFF leader Julius Malema at the party's second electoral conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg on 13 December 2019.
EFF leader Julius Malema at the party's second electoral conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg on 13 December 2019.
Chanté Schatz

The Daily Maverick has vowed to continue to report on EFF People's Assembly despite the publication being denied media accreditation to the event, although eNCA has refused to give the congress any coverage.

A statement by Daily Maverick Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic, released on Saturday as the Assembly was underway, said: "We, at Daily Maverick, believe that the EFF's 'ban' is unconstitutional and intend to test it in court in the new year. Make no mistake – the only reason the EFF's leadership made this decision was because of our groundbreaking reporting – specifically on the VBS scandal."

The eNCA announced in a series of tweets that it would no longer cover this weekend's EFF elective conference after the party barred several news organizations from covering the event. eNCA Editor Jeremy Maggs says it was decided to stand in solidarity with those organizations that have been barred from attending.

"This decision, not taken lightly, is an attack on the media freedom in the country and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

The EFF previously told News24 that it was unapologetic about its stance on the ban.

Speaking at the second media briefing held at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Friday, where the party's second National People's Assembly is being held throughout the long weekend, deputy president Floyd Shivambu said there was nothing out of the ordinary in what they had done by blocking certain media from covering the event.

Speaking with News24's senior politics journalist Tshidi Madia, along with other members of the media on the sidelines of the conference on Friday evening, Malema said the ban of the Daily Maverick was not something new. He added that other publications, however, had to be cut because of capacity.

"Our relationship with Daily Maverick is the relationship we had with ANN7. It is not a news publication. They are propaganda machinery for the cabal," he said.

Earlier on Friday Sanef released a statement calling on the party to reverse its decision to ban certain publications from covering the elective conference. The forum said it had learnt that Daily Maverick, Scorpio, amaBhungane and Rapport had been banned from the conference.

Sanef added that, should the EFF refuse to reverse its decision, it would call on Members of Parliament to sanction its president, Julius Malema.

Brkic added: "Not only is the 'ban' against the spirit of a new, democratic South Africa, it is also not an enforceable sanction. While many of the EFF's politics and actions may date back to the 1920s and early 1930s, technology has since moved on.

"Daily Maverick will, in collaboration with our media colleagues and specialist journalists and writers, still provide the great insight and quality analysis we are known for. The EFF leadership's 'ban' on media brands achieves nothing but exposes their totalitarian bent."

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