The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has told the Equality Court, sitting in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, that EFF supporters were contemplating acts of violence against the media.
Sanef and five journalists have taken on the EFF in court with regards to the intimidation of journalists.
The five journalists are News24 editor Adriaan Basson, Pauli van Wyk, Ranjeni Munusamy, Barry Bateman and Max du Preez.
Arguing for Sanef and the journalists, advocate Daniel Berger told the court: “There is no doubt that EFF supporters are contemplating acts of violence against the media.”
Berger added Malema and the EFF have not taken any steps to call their supporters to order.
He said when the party was asked to condemn acts by its supporters, it said, “no we are not going to do that”.
Berger added that although Sanef had requested a meeting with the EFF, it had not happened.
Last year, after the request, the party’s secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, wrote to Sanef claiming the party was fully booked with engagements up to the 2019 elections.
This despite party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi telling two radio stations and a TV news programme it would meet with Sanef.
“The respondents [the EFF and Malema] have refused attempts by the first applicants to resolve the issues between the EFF and media,” Berger said.
Sanef’s request came after Malema addressed a crowd outside the Zondo commission in November 2018, where Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was testifying.
During his speech, Malema identified specific journalists whom he accused of protecting Gordhan.
He also accused the media of ignoring allegations made by the EFF that Gordhan’s daughter was in business with the state, News24 previously reported.
Malema said: “These crooks, who are calling themselves journalists, are sitting with those questions they have never asked Pravin. The deputy president of the EFF came here yesterday and spoke.
“Instead of repeating those quotes, they asked Pravin: ‘Why is the EFF attacking you?’ I want the EFF leadership from today and the membership to know we are not answering any question[s] from Tiso Blackstar, the Daily Maverick, Scorpio, and e.tv which ask us about our wives, about our relatives, about anyone we know, until they ask Pravin these questions in a live interview.”
Arguing before the Equality Court on Monday, Berger said Malema’s speech had “spurred on his supporters to launch a sustained and targeted attack on journalists singled out by him and others”.
The case continues.