SANEF condemns ANC MP’s threats against journalists
29 July 2020
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) condemns an ANC MP’s offensive threats against a Sunday World journalist.
At the weekend ANC MP, Boy Mamabolo threatened to shoot Sunday World reporter, Ngwako Malatji and kick his testicles after the journalist investigated an incident involving the politician and called to get his side of the story – as required by the Press Council’s Code of Conduct.
The journalist was investigating allegations that Mamabolo made unsavoury remarks about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol for the second time. A source explained that Mamabolo had threatened some of the members of the Milo Malatjie ANC branch, which Mamabolo chairs. The source had provided evidence in the form of cell phone screengrabs of WhatsApp conversations in which Mamabolo allegedly threatened them with violence.
“I phoned Mamabolo, who denied the allegations. He accused me of writing ‘sh**t’ about him, threatening to shoot me and kick my testicles,” Malatji said.
SANEF notes that Malatji has opened a case of intimidation against Mamabolo at Mondeor police station in Joburg and that the police have confirmed the existence of a case of intimidation against Mamabolo.
SANEF finds these threats against the Sunday World journalist deeply disturbing. Such threats have no place in a democratic society and underline the risks that journalists face when covering the activities of politicians at all levels including branches, regions, and provinces.
We hope that SAPS will take this threat against the journalist seriously and carry out the necessary investigation. We hope that the MP responsible for the threats will be brought to justice to show that this unparliamentary behaviour has no place in our democracy. We also call on the ANC to show that it does not tolerate such behaviour within its ranks and that it will duly take steps to discipline its member.
Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.
Issued by Kate Skinner, SANEF Executive Director, 29 July 2020