News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
19 Dec 2017
5:14 pm

Minders with ‘disproportionate sense of authority’ revoke journalist’s accreditation

Gosebo Mathope

Media houses and journalists have warned the party to ease up on the heavy-handed manner in which the media is handled.

A woman takes a selfie with newly elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC's 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg on19 December 2017. The ANC President conducted a media walkabout tour, speaking to SMME's about their businesses. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

The antagonistic relationship between the strong media contingent covering the national conference and media minders reached a boiling point this afternoon when reporter Sam Mkhokheli’s accreditation was revoked.

Several media houses and journalists have warned the party to ease up on the heavy-handed manner in which the media is handled by a security service provider when requesting for information and access to venues and office-bearers.

So incensed are the reporters based at Nasrec, estimated to be over a thousand, that they have resorted that for this afternoon stories will be filed informing the public that in the absence of information security officers are instead mistreating the media.

An official who described his role as that of being “responsible for security as far as media is concerned,” asked infuriated journalists to provide details so he can take the matter up.

The official also apologised to the media if they felt “security is hard” on them. In response they shot back that the security marshals were simply rude, overbearing and too quick to threaten to kick out journalists who challenged them.

Ironically, Mkhokheli is South African National Editors Forum (Sanef)’s chair of sub committee on media freedom.

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Questions were also raised with regards to the involvement of state security and South African Police Services (SAPS) in a political party event, saying this is unnecessary as they are “professionals here to do a job.”

It also emerged that a journalist on assignment with CNN was threatened with arrest when questioning the aggressive manner in which the marshals dealt with his request to access an off-limits area of the conference.

The reporters also told a harrowing tale of a disabled photographer who was pushed during Monday plenary session. It was claimed when he told ANC security detail he is disabled, they did not listen and pushed him to the floor.

Another contentious issue is the eager-beaver approach of the security officers who allegedly threaten to confiscate reporters tags even when ANC leaders and other delegates voluntarily stopped to chat to journalists on the sidelines.

Sanef chairperson and Media24 national political editor Mahlatse Gallens is currently trying to intervene in the stalemate between the furious reporters and the communication officers as well as the concerned security providers.

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