Sanef demands drastic disciplinary action against ANC regional chairman who called for burning down of newspaper office
The SA National Editors' Forum is deeply shocked and concerned at the reported attempt by the African National Congress's Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairman Nceba Faku to incite ANC supporters to attack and burn down the offices of The Herald newspaper in the city of Port Elizabeth .
The Herald reported that Faku, addressing supporters from the steps of the Port Elizabeth City Hall as they celebrated the ANC's local government election victory in the city, that the paper was the party's biggest enemy and then shouted, "Down with The Herald, down! Go and burn The Herald."
Sanef is concerned at the insipid comment of ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu on Faku's conduct - he said, if Faku was quoted correctly his statement was "unacceptable". An attempt to incite people to burn down a newspaper should draw instant repudiation from the party leadership and the instigation of drastic disciplinary action against the person.
Indeed, Sanef calls on President Jacob Zuma to take action against Faku immediately.
Sanef has noted -- as have international organizations such as Freedom House and Amnesty International -- the growing hostility of the ruling party towards the press. It was one of the reasons Freedom House downgraded South Africa from a "free" country to "partly free" in its review of freedom around the world. In its annual report 2011, Amnesty International raised concerns over threats to freedom of expression in South Africa, citing the unlawful arrest of Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika after his reports on an alleged hit squad linked to senior Limpopo provincial government members.