Eyewitness News (EWN) senior journalist Barry Bateman has apologised for the p-word slip-up he made after attending an impromptu briefing by EFF leader Julius Malema in September.
"I, Barry Bateman, unreservedly apologise to all South Africans; all women, Mr Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF, my employer, EWN, a part of the Primedia group and everyone else that I offended during my derogatory, insulting and obscene outburst on September 10, 2019.
"As a senior journalist and a citizen of South Africa, I have a duty to uphold the highest ethical standards and professional conduct, whatever the circumstances or differences I may have with other newsmakers," Bateman said in a statement shared via his social media page on Tuesday.
Bateman was caught on camera using the words while chatting to a fellow reporter after Malema's briefing outside the Hawks' offices, News24 previously reported.
He was pulled off air after a video of the incident went viral.
The EFF leader was addressing the media after he met with the Hawks at their offices, where he was scheduled to deliver a warning statement. Malema believed that the charges were politically motivated.
In an exchange with Bateman, the EFF leader was asked if he attacked a police officer at the funeral of late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
He responded in summary: "If that is an attack, I take it."
Malema then addressed Bateman directly: "I wish I did that, I wish I assaulted him. Now that it's a real issue, I wish I did the real thing, proper. I regret not doing it. So that I deal with real stuff. Me, I'm not scared boet, uniform or no uniform. Afrikaner or no Afrikaner. White or pink, I deal with you decisively."
Bateman used the expletive after Malema walked off.
Primedia has since given Bateman a one-month suspension without pay in October and a final written warning, which is valid for 12 months, according to the journalist.
Bateman has accepted the action taken against him and maintains that his conduct was "unjustifiable".
"I remain committed to the principles and ethos of esteemed journalism profession, which is critical to strengthening a democratic South Africa through accountable and responsible media," he said.