Freelance journalist goes from covering elections to being elected councillor

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ActionSA supporters gathered outside the Durban City Hall during a rally in April.
ActionSA supporters gathered outside the Durban City Hall during a rally in April.
Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • A freelance journalist has been elected as a PR councillor for ActionSA.
  • Ntshidi was covering political stories while he was on ActionSA's proportional representative list. 
  • EWN editor-in-chief Mahlatse Mahlase said Ntshidi had served notice on 7 November.  

Freelance journalist Edwin Ntshidi, who covered the elections for Eyewitness News (EWN), was sworn in as an ActionSA proportional representative (PR) councillor for the City of Johannesburg on Monday. 

He will represent ActionSA in the council. 

News24 understands Ntshidi was a freelance journalist for EWN for about three years while consulting for two other radio stations. 

When approached for comments during the City's inaugural council meeting, he refused to comment, saying he would first consult with ActionSA's leadership before engaging the media. 

READ | Adriaan Basson: Coalition conundrum - Can two wounded bulls share a kraal?

After a brief consultation with party leaders, including president Herman Mashaba, the freelance journalist said he would rather not comment on whether his reporting on the elections, while knowing he would be a PR councillor, had given the party an unfair advantage. 

Ntshidi declined to comment on whether he intended to remain a journalist after his election to the council. 

As a PR councillor, he would not be permanently engaging with serving his community as expected of ward councillors. 

Notice

When approached for comment, EWN editor-in-chief Mahlatse Mahlase said Ntshidi no longer worked for EWN after serving notice on 7 November. 

Mahlase added that his political ambitions were unknown to the company until recently. 

"We lead a team of journalists who proudly and vigorously uphold the highest editorial standards and ethics. EWN has sound editorial policies in place to ensure unbiased reporting, and stories go through a rigorous subbing process that entails more than one person approving copy.

"It is even more critical that these steps are in place during an election, and we have several review meetings to ensure that our coverage is fair, balanced, and accurate." 

READ | ATM, Kuli Roberts part ways within days of candidacy announcement, says party

Ntshidi’s swearing-in comes just months after media personality Kuli Roberts allegedly lost her job at Sunday World for venturing into politics. 

Speaking on 702 on Thursday, Kuli said African Transformation Movement's (ATM) Mzwanele Manyi lied she was a councillor candidate in the recent municipal elections.

In September, Manyi announced on social media Kuli had joined the ATM as a councillor and was running for candidacy for Ward 65 in Tshwane. 

"I never signed up to be a councillor for ATM. Jimmy Manyi posted absolute lies, I was never standing up to be a councillor for ATM, and that basically cost me my job," she said. 

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