The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been making headlines for most of the week due to their protests at Clicks stores following a racially offensive hair advert it posted online. Apart from the protests, which saw multiple stores being vandalised, the EFF has also been caught on video chasing journalists away from the scene. EFF member Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said merely touching a journalist is not classified as harassment.
This comes after eNCA reported that the EFF had harassed one of its journalists at a Clicks in Plumstead Cape Town.
'AN UNARMED MEMBER OF THE EFF TOUCHES ONE JOURNALIST AND YOU CRY HARASSMENT' – NDLOZI
Ndlozi firmly maintained that no journalist was harassed during Clicks protests. He said the Presidential Protection Unit has been pushing journalists around for years and no journalist ever called it harassment.
"The Presidential Protection Unit has been pushing journalists since the days of Nelson Mandela. Journalists have never called this harassment; not a single journalist, senior or junior, has ever complained. An unarmed member of the EFF touches one journalist; you cry Harassment!" he said.
Responding to eNCA's video footage, Ndlozi said the members were telling the journalist that she could be there but she just couldn't interview them, hence why they chased her away.
"They are telling her that she can be here, but not allowed to talk to EFF members. It means she was trying to interview them. I really do not see harassment here. Merely touching her is not harassment. The touch has to be violent, invasive, or harmful to become harassment!" he added.
Ndlozi also posted a video of a journalist being removed during Nelson Mandela's release from prison. He said; "here is Ramaphosa touching a journalist to remove her from the way so that Mandela can pass. Merely touching journalists is not harassment. We can disagree with EFF members removing journalists from protests (which is wrong) without saying merely touching them is harassment!"
ENCA TOLD TO STAY AWAY
Ndlozi, tagging eNCA, asked why journalists keep coming to them when the broadcaster walked away from the party at the EFF National Assembly.
In December 2019, the party announced it would be banning investigative journalism unit amaBhungane and Daily Maverick from covering its conference. eNCA then also suspended its coverage in solidarity.
"According to you, we are the undesirables! We have since asked you to also leave us alone. It is harassment to keep coming to us; you walked away. Stay Away!" he said.
According to eNCA, this is not the first time the EFF has "harassed" a journalist. According to journalist Nobesuthu Hejana, she and cameraman Crescendo Louw were at the Clicks store in Goodwood Mall in Cape Town on Monday when they were chased away by protestors.
The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has since blown the whistle, saying; "Sanef takes serious exception to this kind of intimidation and treatment of journalists by supporters of any political organisation. It is particularly worrying because the EFF is represented in the South African National Assembly and various provincial and local government legislature structures."