21 March 2018

South Africa: Statement on the Scuffle With a Journalist in the Precincts of Parliament

press release

Today, the 20th of March 2018 I was engaged in a scuffle with a Photographer/Journalist in Parliament. The scuffle was a result of circumstances which included taking of photographs and persistence to speak to me whilst receiving documents from staff members in order to attend the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF). Whilst I was in a hurry to attend the committee meeting, I accept that my impatience with the gentleman was inappropriate.

The scuffle happened and was never an assault on the Journalist or media freedom. I regret the incident and believe it should have been handled differently. I take full responsibility and apologise for engaging in a scuffle with a person I discovered after the incident is a Journalist. I will write and emailed an official apology on the scuffle because I believe it was not supposed to happen.

The EFF, which I represent in Parliament and Deputy President of, upholds media freedom, and freedom of association. As a loyal member of the EFF, I fully uphold media freedom and freedom of association, and the scuffle was not meant to suppress these constitutional principles.

I will not do media interviews concerning the incident because I believe there are important other issues to speak about in the public discourse, than a scuffle. Members of the media are humbly requested to use this statement as my official response and nothing else.

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