Amanda Watson news editor The Citizen obituary

By Amanda Watson

News Editor

Shivambu victim on pain tablets and therapy following EFF assault

There has been widespread outrage to alleged thuggery from party members last week.

In less than a week, two senior EFF members managed to pick up two charges of assault.

In the first incident, journalist Adrian de Kock confirmed over the weekend he had laid a charge of assault against EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu following the latter’s alleged assault on him with another EFF MP in the parliamentary precinct that was caught on camera and widely circulated.

In the second, spokesperson to Speaker of the City of Johannesburg Lillian Kolisang accused EFF councillor Lucky Chabalala in the City of Johannesburg of slapping her last week after she “rejected his advances”.

Kolisang made the allegation following news of De Kock’s assault and said she had laid a charge of assault against Chabala with the Mondeor police.

When she reported the alleged assault, Kolisang said the police official taking her statement compounded the incident by apparently remarking: “I would make love to a beautiful woman like you, not slap you.”

Both incidents have sparked outrage across South Africa.

“Parliament is concerned by the incident as it is not in line with its commitment to press freedom and a media-friendly environment as enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights,” said Parliament’s Speaker Baleka Mbete (someone Shivambu has crossed swords with in Parliament) and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise in a joint statement on De Kock’s assault.

“The presiding officers will investigate the alleged incident and, where necessary, determine an appropriate decision.”

De Kock told The Citizen he had since been to a doctor for pain-relieving injections and physiotherapy for injuries he sustained to his back during the assault, which was recorded and splashed all over social media.

Parliamentary Press Gallery Association chairperson Andisiwe Makinana said the organisation was “appalled” by De Kock’s assault.

“Any journalist working in the parliamentary precinct on assignment and outside any restricted area has the full right to photograph and ask questions of any public representative,” Makinana said.

“I’ve been covering the precinct for years; I go to all their press conferences,” De Kock said of Shivambu’s claim he only discovered after the incident De Kock was a journalist.

It’s not the first time for Shivambu and, as he has refused to answer questions about the incident as he would “not do media interviews concerning the incident because I believe there are important other issues to speak about in the public discourse”, questions remain about Shivambu’s apparent refusal to keep his hands and acerbic tongue off journalists despite losing court actions.

“You must learn to respect people. I don’t comment on YCL issues and please stop being stupid … I wouldn’t want to earn respect from white bitches … so dream on,” Shivambu once SMSed journalist Carien du Plessis in 2011. After two years, the Equality Court ordered him to apologise and pay Du Plessis’ legal costs, reported to be around R20 000.

In 2013 after a South Gauteng High Court order, Shivambu paid Independent Newspapers and Saturday Star editor Kashiefa Ajam R175 000 each after calling Ajam a drunkard.

In 2016 Shivambu told ANN7 journalist Kalden Ongmu she was “a Gupta agent” and refused to let her interview him.

Yesterday in Mpumalanga at an EFF human rights rally, Julius Malema – who has had his own run-ins with journalists – said the media should be respected.

“Let us pose for them because we are photogenic … We must never be scared of media.”

No journalist should ever feel threatened by the EFF, he added.

Only two mainstream media houses covered the event.

Read more on these topics

assault Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)