DA mob disrupts media site inspection at Nkandla - Office of ANC Chief Whip

Grouping led by Chief Whip John Steenhuisen and spokesperson Phumzile van Damme hurled insults at police


22 July 2015

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is outraged that the site inspection arranged for the media at the private residence of the President at Nkandla this morning was disrupted by members of the DA, led by the party's Chief Whip John Steenhuizen. The Presidency had made an effort to ensure that members of the media are granted access to the public areas around the homestead such as as the helipad, the clinic and houses for personnel.

The media inspection took place simultaneously with, but parallel to, the site visit by the members of the parliamentary ad hoc committee considering police minister's report on Nkandla. However, the media inspection had hardly began when DA members led by the DA chief whip and spokesperson Phumzille van Damme disrupted the process and started howling and hurling insults at the police members who were guiding the media. To the clear irritation of a group journalists present, they interrupted an orderly process in which the media was witnessing first hand the place, including asking substantive and probing questions regarding the security upgrades.

The DA chief whip is a member of the ad hoc committee and was supposed to form part of the team of MPs which was at the same time conducting oversight within the inside perimeter of the homestead. However, true to the DA antics of attracting media attention by hook or crook, he and his mob opted to pull silly stunts in front of the television cameras present. Unfortunately, the real victim of this disgraceful stunts are the journalists that had braved the rainy and cold weather to report based on witness account regarding the security improvements at Nkandla.

This conduct of the DA MPs was not in keeping with MPs' oversight function, but a disgraceful stunt which interfered and violated the media's right to conduct its business. The DA's well-orchestrated disruption of the media site inspection not only deprived the public who rely on media of the facts regarding the President's residence, but also served to distract attention from the important oversight work of the ad hoc committee.

We condemn such blatant act of hooliganism, which is clearly driven by a shameless insatiable appetite for media attention and a selfish disregard for the rights of others. Those DA MPs and their party ought to hang their heads in shame for such shameless public display of unruliness.

We trust that Sanef, having spoken strongly in favor of the media covering the site inspection, will condemn such gross interference with the media's work.

Statement issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, July 22 2015