20 March 2018

South Africa: Floyd Shivambu Scuffle With Netwerk24 Photographer Condemned

Netwerk24 has condemned the attack on one of its photographers by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu outside Parliament on Tuesday morning.

Shivambu was caught on camera with his hand around the throat of Netwerk24 photographer Adrian de Kock, while another man had his hands on De Kock and his camera.

De Kock said he went over to Shivambu to get a comment about the disciplinary hearing of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille when the scuffle started.

"I went over to Floyd to try and get comment from him for the Patricia de Lille hearing, just to see if, as the opposition, he has any comment," De Kock said after the incident.

"I went to him and I said to him 'do you have any comment' and he said 'no, you must delete the picture' and I said, 'I can't delete the pictures'.

"And then he started grabbing my camera, trying to delete the pictures... He went for my camera and then tried to break my camera," De Kock said.

He said he intended opening a case with the police following the incident.

In a video posted on Twitter by the Cape Argus journalist Jason Felix, De Kock can be heard shouting multiple times: "Leave my stuff alone."

As more journalists approached the scuffle, Shivambu leaves De Kock alone and walks away.

Netwerk24 editor Henriette Loubser condemned the attack on De Kock "in the strongest terms".

"Journalists should be free to do their work without being intimidated or attacked," she said.

Shivambu cut News24's phone calls on Tuesday morning and instead responded with an SMS saying he couldn't talk at the time and asked to be texted.

News24 asked for comment about the incident and he responded that he was busy in a meeting.

'No need' for assault

News24 reporter Tammy Petersen who witnessed the attack on Tuesday said she was shocked by the aggression.

"It didn't look like there was any provocation. It was shocking behaviour," she said.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery Association's (PGA) chairperson Andisiwe Makinana said they were "appalled by the assault" on De Kock.

"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," she said.

"There was no need for Mr Shivambu to assault Mr De Kock," Makinana said.

She said the PGA would be writing to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and ask the EFF to ask Shivambu to apologise and for disciplinary action to be taken against him.

SA National Editors' Forum chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said Shivambu's behaviour was unacceptable.

"Sanef condemns the incident in the strongest possible terms and is extremely disappointed by Shivambu's actions," she said.

"This type of intolerant behaviour is unacceptable in a democracy.

"As a member of Parliament he is entrusted with protecting our hard earned media freedom and freedom of expression as is enshrined in our Constitution. He should lead by example and champion journalists' protected right to do their work without fear or favour," she said.

Source: News24

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