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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

EFF rejects Sanef’s ‘frivolous complaint’ over bannings

'Daily Maverick is no media but a political instrument used by an ANC faction to fight its battles,' Shivambu said

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected a call by the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) for parliament to sanction the party’s parliamentarians for a violation of the Constitution after it banned certain media houses from its second elective national conference in Johannesburg.

The EFF had confirmed its ban of the online publication, Daily Maverick from its National People’s Assembly at Nasrec, which began on Friday and ends on Monday.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, described the Sanef statement as a “frivolous complaint” that did not deserve to be dignified with a response. He said the party took a decision to ban Daily Maverick from the event because the publication was an instrument of an ANC faction and a communication department for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

“Daily Maverick is no media but a political instrument used by an ANC faction to fight its battles,” Shivambu said, adding that the publication was an instrument of a cabal and was used by a “rogue unit” against the EFF.

Shivambu echoed an earlier statement by EFF secretary-general, Godrich Gardee that the party had banned Daily Maverick from the event because it was not media but a political tool.

Gardee said they took against Daily Maverick the same position they had taken against the Gupta’s TV network, ANN7. The EFF had in the past also banned ANN7 journalists from its media briefings and meetings.

Recently EFF commander in chief Julius Malema publicly announced the ban on the publication. The ban is attributed to the Daily Maverick’s consistent investigative exposes about corruption allegedly involving EFF top leadership.

This included allegations that some EFF leaders benefited from VBS Mutual Bank looting through a company owned by Brian Shivambu, brother of Floyd Shivambu. There is a flurry of other graft-related allegations that Daily Maverick published against both Malema and Shivambu.

Shivambu banning Daily Maverick was a decision taken by the EFF leadership and “we stand by it”. He said all other media that should be at the NPA, were accredited to cover the event.

Shivambu said the publication had publicly stated that it was working to reduce the EFF’s elective majority and it has warned some of the delegates in the run-up to the congress that they should be careful of some EFF individuals.

“What kind of a newspaper is this that that tell people to be aware of its leaders?

“You must treat all role players equally,” he said.

Sanef in a statement condemned the ban, saying it did not accept the reason forwarded by EFF that certain publications were barred due to lack of space at the conference. The party had cut the number of journalists covering the event from 600 to about 150, saying this was due to logistical challenges.

Shivambu said all buses and delegates had arrived at the NPA and 90 percent of delegates were registered by 6pm this evening.

He said they also invited business representatives, ambassadors and other prominent international and local guests.

The congress was ready to start as early as 9am on Saturday and will be addressed by Malema.

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