The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) blacklisting of a Sowetan journalist is “outrageous”, the Freedom of Expression Institution (FXI) said on Friday.
“It is outrageous that the DA is itself blacklisting journalists when it was so opposed to Snuki Zikalala doing the same at the SABC and has been so vocal about the African National Congress’s approach to the media,” said spokesperson Jayshree Pather.
The DA blacklisted the Sowetan‘s Cape political correspondent, Anna Majavu — a former spokesperson for the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) — in August last year because she has a “political agenda”.
“FXI’s view is that it is the prerogative of editors and not political parties to appoint journalists and judge their capacity and performance.
“Journalists must be judged by their adherence to agreed editorial standards and not by their previous positions.
The FXI added its voice to other groups such as the South African National Editors’ Forum and Samwu opposing the blacklisting of journalists.
‘A particular political agenda’
The DA’s executive director of communications and research, Ross van der Linde, confirmed to the Sowetan on Thursday that the party had cut communication with Majavu.
“Majavu is not a journalist. Some journalists and editors disagree with our policies and views, and they are entitled to do so. But Anna Majavu is a former South African Municipal Workers’ Union spin doctor who has a particular political agenda,” Van der Linde said.
He said the DA was not obliged to send information to any individual or organisation.
Majavu said her woes with the party started when she wrote a story about how DA MP Pieter van Dalen allegedly shot at two children in Khayelitsha.
The Sowetan said Majavu based her story on a report by Advocate Pierre van Tonder, who adjudicated in the matter of an appeal by a metro police officer who was dismissed.
“The officer, with Van Dalen, shot rubber bullets at two children playing soccer in Khayelitsha late at night,” the Sowetan said.
Van Dalen — who was a councillor at the time of the incident — accompanied metro police officers during the xenophobic attacks in 2008. — Sapa