/ 16 October 2007

Cachalia asked to probe harassment of lensmen

Gauteng provincial safety and security minister Firoz Cachalia should probe the harassment of two Johannesburg photographers, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

This comes after two photographers from the Star had their equipment confiscated by police in Johannesburg’s Diagonal street.

DA safety and security spokesperson John Moodley said the DA was outraged at the incident and that Cachalia should launch an immediate probe.

The paper reported that the incident followed a stand-off between members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Johannesburg metro police on Monday.

The metro police arrived in six cars and a flat-bed truck to tow away illegally parked vehicles. After they started ticketing the vehicles — that belonged to the SAPS’s Crime Intelligence Unit — an argument broke out between the two sides.

Photographer Matthews Baloyi had his camera taken away before he was grabbed by the neck and pulled across the road while chief photographer Chris Collingridge was arrested for noting the registration number of a private car used by a police officer. He was later released.

”If even half of what the Star newspaper and its journalists have alleged is true, then the police owe the photographers and the Star an apology.

”We are outraged by the incident and consider it a direct attack on media freedom,” said Moodley. – Sapa