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We'll see you in court, EFF tells Sanef

EFF leader Julius Malema addresses EFF supporters in Parktown yesterday.
EFF leader Julius Malema addresses EFF supporters in Parktown yesterday.

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has laid charges against the Economic Freedom Fighters with the Equality Court. The charges follow what the organisation says has been “a barrage of abusive and dangerous threats against journalists”.

Sanef says EFF leader Julius Malema’s continued verbal tirade against journalists is endangering the lives of journalists. “SANEF has approached the court in defense of media freedom and seeking protection of journalists against sustained intimidation and threats against journalists by EFF leader Julius Malema and his supporters,” Sanef said in a statement.

The EFF responded to the complaint filed by Sanef saying it will defend itself in court.

“We repeat, without any fear of contradiction, that Peter Bruce, Max du Preez, Ranjeni Munusamy, Ferial Haffajee, Karima Brown, Pierre de Vos, Palesa Morudu, and Nomboniso Gasa, are the Ramaphosa's Defence Force; engaged in a campaign, through their positions in the media, to discredit and undermine any opposition to him and Pravin Gordhan. They are a coordinated Pravin Gordhan media gang, with objectives of protecting the establishment,” party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

Ndlozi denied that any of the EFF party leaders had ever published the physical addresses of journalists. He said “No leader or structure of the EFF has ever called on violence with the media or journalists. No leader of the EFF has even called on any journalist’s house address to be published.”

Sanef said it wants the EFF to stop:

  • Intimidating, harassing, threatening or assaulting any journalist;
  • Publishing personal information of any journalist;
  • Expressly or tacitly endorsing the intimidation and harassment of journalists by supporters or followers on social media or on public platforms;
  • Expressly or tacitly endorsing the publication of personal information by supporters or followers on public platforms or on social media.

In its submission to the court Sanef said the utterances made by Malema, when he addressed EFF supporters outside the State Capture commission venue, had led to insults being hurled and physical intimidation aimed at journalists.

“Sanef as a body representing editors and senior journalists from a variety of media outlets is outraged by the level of abuse, intimidation, harassment and hate speech hurled at individual journalists and editors and media professionals at large, in the wake of Mr. Malema's utterances in recent weeks.”

Women journalists in particular have borne the brunt of an avalanche of insults levelled against them, particularly on social media. The journalists who have reported critically on the EFF have been called "whores", "witches", "bitches" and "cunts", and calls have been made for them to be raped and attacked by staunch EFF supporters,” Sanef said.

The party said it will continue to name journalists of what it terms the Pravin Godharn media gang. This it alleges are journalists who are working to defend the Public Enterprises minister from criticism.

Tiso Blackstar reporter Ranjeni Munusamy, who has been the target of Malema’s verbal tirades, has submitted in an affidavit that she was a victim of EFF members while she was out shopping a few days ago. “"As I passed them they hissed at me and shouted my name," said Munusamy

She said since Malema had named her and several journalists as part of the so called Pravin Godharn media gang she's been a victim of insults. Munusamy said since Malema had named her, there had been a barrage of insults aimed at her on Twitter. She said: "One of the consequences of Mr Malema’s election to single me out is that every time he publicly attacks me, my Twitter account is flooded with abusive and threatening tweets from his supporters.”

"I’ve been called a witch, a c**t, a snake, an achaar-eating bitch and a street girl, was told to 'go hang' and have been accused of being a racist. I have also been told I should be 'f**ked in the arse to be taught a lesson',"

The EFF has promised that it will go to the courts to fight for itself.​

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