- Two e.tv journalists were robbed at gunpoint in Khayelitsha on Monday.
- They had been conducting interviews with community leaders, as part of the channel's election coverage.
- Sanef condemned the attack on journalists.
Two television journalists, robbed at gunpoint after conducting interviews in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, described the experience as one of the scariest days of their careers.
Journalists for e.tv, Natalie Malgas and cameraman Lance Manjoro, were robbed on Monday after they had finished interviewing community leaders in the township, as part of the channel's election coverage.
They were robbed outside a local primary school in Khayelitsha.
Malgas said it was one of the "scariest days in her entire career".
"Two of the robbers had guns and the one who appeared to be the ringleader cocked a weapon in my face. They shouted that we hand over our phones, laptops and camera," Malgas said.
She said the robbers cleaned out the boot, taking everything, including their tripod bag and other belongings, and then fled on foot.
One robber even came back and grabbed a phone charger.
The journalists got into their vehicle and stopped a nearby police patrol to ask for help.
Survived my scariest day on the job. ??????My cameraman & I were held at gunpoint in Khayelitsha while covering #LGE2021 stories. We're unhurt & safe now. Be safe in the field colleagues. Camera equipment & phones stolen in ambush. 4 guys, 2 guns. It all happened so fast.— Natalie Malgas (@nataliemalgas) October 18, 2021
According to the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef), e.tv management thanked SAPS for responding in a swift and professional manner to assist the journalists.
"We're hopeful that while the SAPS conducts its investigation into this matter, arrests will be made soon. It's concerning for us that while we're covering the local government elections and highlighting the plight of communities, our teams are vulnerable in the face of such barbaric criminality," managing editor John Bailey said.
"While our team is unhurt, they're very traumatised. However, we are providing them with the necessary support."
Sanef condemned the act of criminality, adding it was concerned that, barely a month ago, an eNCA crew was robbed in the same township, and Newzroom Afrika journalists were robbed while out on a story in East London.
"Other incidents of robbery of journalists have been reported in Cape Town and elsewhere in the country," the forum said in a statement.
"We note that these attacks are now becoming a norm, putting the lives of journalists at risk. We call on law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute these criminals."
Sanef added that such attacks place an enormous physical and emotional burden on journalists, who are already exposed to challenging conditions under the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Without journalists focusing on the plight of communities, such stories will go unreported," Sanef said.
"South Africa is becoming a very dangerous place for journalists and, apart from attacks on the field, journalists also face cyber-bulling and severe attacks on social media platforms."
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said an armed robbery case was under investigation.
Traut added that anyone able to assist the police should contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.