Sanef 'deeply worried and outraged' after journalists attacked in Nkandla

Sanef claims Edward Zuma, the former president's son, had 'threatened to burn one of the media vehicles parked outside his father’s house'.

Supporters of Jacob Zuma have gathered outside Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal in the aftermath of the former president being given a 15-month jail term for contempt of court. File picture.
Supporters of Jacob Zuma have gathered outside Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal in the aftermath of the former president being given a 15-month jail term for contempt of court. File picture.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Journalists have suffered "brazen physical and verbal abuse" while covering the events outside former president Jacob Zuma's homestead in Nkandla, the SA National Editors' Forum said on Sunday.

In a particularly worrying case, the forum said SABC journalist Samkele Maseko "was physically manhandled by one supporter" on Sunday - just a day after he was subject to a "anger-fuelled interruption of a live broadcast".

Sanef chairperson, political editor Sbu Ngalwa, witnessed the violent attack on Sunday and had to step in.

“I pulled him out as he was being attacked, strangled and slapped by one of the supporters,” said Ngalwa.

Sanef said in its statement: "Since Friday, journalists have come under severe attacks while waiting for law enforcement agencies to execute a Constitutional Court ruling. Apart from supporters swearing and hurling verbal taunts at journalists, Edward Zuma, Zuma’s eldest son, also threatened to burn one of the media vehicles parked outside his father’s house.

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"We remind all supporters and the Zuma family, and other former ANC leaders who also pitched up to support the former President, that journalists have a right to cover the events. They were not trespassing, nor did they breach any privacy or court regulations."

Sanef said it was concerned these kinds of attacks are a "direct breach of the South African Constitution that protects media freedom and access to information, and by extension the right for journalists to do their work".

"The impunity in which the Zuma supporters have acted says a lot about the climate that has been enabled for such attacks to happen without consequence. We urge Zuma, and senior leaders supporting him, to curtail and condemn such attacks by calling on his family and supporters to cease and desist from such actions," Sanef said.

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