Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


EFF denies calling for an attack on journalists

The party insists they only meant that journalists be 'dealt with' on an intellectual basis and not physically.

Speaking to Leanne Manas on SABC’s Morning Live, EFF spokesperson Mbuyseni Ndlozi stated the party was open to meeting with the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) in order to reach an amicable solution to their on-going tiff.

While the EFF has long been a very vocal opponent of the media, things recently came to a head when EFF CIC Julius Malema issued a stern warning against The Sunday Times in response to an opinion piece written about him.

Image: Twitter

In response, Sanef expressed their wish to have an urgent meeting with EFF leadership to discuss their concerns over utterances attributed to Malema both on Twitter and during an address of protestors outside the state capture commission.

He reportedly said that certain journalists must be dealt with decisively before he backtracked and asked EFF supporters to refrain from harming journalists.

Sanef executive director Kate Skinner appeared on Morning Live to elaborate on their concerns and their meeting request, claiming that certain journalists have been physically accosted and abused on social media following Malema’s utterances.

Skinner called Malema’s backtrack contradictory before reiterating how Sanef had maintained that naming particular journalists put them at risk.

“So if you’ve got complaints against the media, that’s not a problem, but you’ve got to go through the proper channels,” she added.

Shortly after Skinner’s interview, Ndlozi appeared on the show to respond to Sanef’s claims in addition to elaborating on the EFF’s position.

“They need to have a tough conversation about the ways in which media coverage around those who are critical to the status quo has been carried out,” said Ndlozi.

He went on to call out a bias in the media with regards to reports about black people, using the VBS saga and the Sunday Times editorial about Julius Malema as examples.

“Julis Malema did not run the apartheid regime, Julius Malema is not responsible for the white privilege that persists in society, Julius Malema is the single most consistent voice out there challenging the status quo and the ways in which white privilege continues to persist,” added Ndlozi

When questioned about Malema’s consistency, especially in relation to Pravin Gordhan, Ndlozi insisted that the EFF only defended him when he was on the chopping block because any move made against Gordhan by then president Jacob Zuma would have been an abuse of state power.

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In response to questions about the danger of the EFF’s practice of naming journalists whose opinion pieces and articles they did not agree with, Ndlozi waxed lyrical about how said journalists’ names are attached to their articles anyway and that said journalists should be considered campaigners and not journalists due to the nature of their content.

“In our view, that’s how they have got to be treated and we are saying… I mean look at the Sunday Times yesterday, every single opinion piece by those people was on us. Not reporting fairly, not trying to cover some balanced story but making a view…” said Ndlozi.

He stated that the EFF believed that engaging the journalists they disagreed with should be done in the same manner in which they dealt with political opponents in an ideological debate or whenever they differed on policy.

“The president [Malema] was very clear. He says ‘when I say to you deal with them decisively, I say intellectually’. In the EFF, we pride ourselves with superior logic. Don’t beat them up, don’t be physical with them. He was very clear with that,” explained Ndlozi.

He further defended the EFF’s stance by claiming that the EFF was merely passionate in their responses to media critique.

“There’s a difference between covering us and making an opinion about what we are doing. When you make an opinion, you’re making value judgments, statements of ideological position and when you do that, you are campaigning… That’s not a story, that’s an opinion position and if I come against such an opinion position with the same passion that it deserves, you don’t get scared and say ‘no, I’m [not] mobilising violence against you’.”

He went on to repeat the CIC’s message of condemning violence towards journalists.

“I want to reiterate; we do not support anybody that will intimidate journalists physically, that will harass them physically. We are repeating that, we will repeat it as long as long as we are alive. We don’t agree,” said Ndlozi.

A call for media houses and journalists to boycott the EFF has already made its rounds having gained significant support.

Watch part one of the interview below:

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