2 August 2017

South Africa: BLF in Altercation With Amabhungane Journalist At Cape Town Airport

Photo: KykNetTV/YouTube
Screenshot from an interview with BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (file photo).

The Black First Land First (BLF) is considering laying a criminal charge against amaBhungane journalist Stefaans Brümmer following an altercation at the Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday, its spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp said.

The organisation claims Brümmer blocked three BLF members and pushed his smart phone into their faces as they were exiting the airport. Brümmer, however, claims it was, in fact, members of the BLF who had assaulted him.

Maasdorp said the organisation was discussing whether to lay further charges against Brümmer after they had already laid an intimidation charge against him for a separate incident last week.

He alleged that BLF leader Andile Mngxitama and two other members were fetching people from the airport when Brümmer approached them.

"He tried to push the phone into their faces, acting like he's filming them, and provoking them. They tried to leave without engaging with him because they didn't want any violence to occur," Maasdorp told News24.

BLF previously laid charges against a "white man", who they now claim to be Brümmer, after he allegedly punched Mngxitama at an amaBhungane gathering in Braamfontein on Thursday.

Cape Town based Brümmer called the allegations by Maasdorp "false".

He said he didn't want to go into the "nitty gritty" of the incident as he didn't want to turn himself into the story.

"The real story is about the Guptas. They want to turn the story away from the Gupta leaks. They want to divert us," he said.

"[Turning journalists into the story] will help their cause because their cause is to divert to us; to keep us from doing our investigations surrounding the Gupta leaks."

Brümmer said he is preparing an affidavit to be used against BLF and Mngxitama which he would release to the public.

Intimidation

This marks the fourth time BLF has been linked to the assault and intimidation of journalists.

On June 29, BLF supporters protested outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce's house in Johannesburg.

This after the organisation issued a statement accusing "white owned media" of unleashing "a massive campaign against the truth", and calling for protest action at Bruce's home.

The South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) was subsequently granted an interdict against Mngxitama and BLF on July 7, prohibiting them from intimidating or assaulting journalists.

On July 17, BLF members allegedly grabbed and swore at amaBhungane investigative journalist Micah Reddy following the filming of a debate on fake news for the SABC television show Daily Thetha at Shine Studios in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

On July 27, BLF supporters disrupted a debate about state capture and the Gupta emails, hosted by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in Braamfontein.

Sanef, amaBhungane managing partner Sam Sole and HuffPost SA editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee on Tuesday launched an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court to convict Mngxitama for contempt of court.

They argue that BLF and Mngxitama are in contempt of the court order handed down on July 7 and that Mngxitama should be arrested and imprisoned for a period of three months (90 days).

They further asked the court to fine BLF and Mngxitama R100 000. AmaBhungane is a non-profit company founded to develop investigative journalism in the public interest.

Together with News24 and Daily Maverick, amaBhungane has led the investigation into the controversial Gupta emails.

These have exposed the extent of the family's influence in the South African public sector. Mngxitama has been implicated in the Gupta Leaks.

He is believed to have met members of the Gupta family and to have received instruction to write an article about BizNews editor Alec Hogg on their behalf.

Read more: #GuptaLeaks: Gupta spin machine commissioned BLF's Mngxitama

Mngxitama has denied receiving any money from the Guptas despite aggressively defending them.

Source: News24

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