Editors’ forum asks court to interdict Black First Land First

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Tuesday filed an urgent application in the high court to interdict the Black First Land First (BLF) group after it allegedly intimidated, harassed and threatened journalists.

Sanef has asked that the court prevents BLF from harassing, intimidating and threatening journalists it named in a statement where it “warns white journalists”. BLF accused seven people of “covering up of white corruption under the guise of journalism”. They include:

Peter Bruce (Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large)

Sam Sole (amaBhungane journalist)

Adriaan Basson (News24 editor)

Stephen Grootes (Radio 702 presenter)

Max du Preez (independent columnist)

Barry Bateman (Eyewitness News reporter)

Alec Hogg (Biznews publisher)

The group, led by Andile Mngxitama, also named HuffPost editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee, political analyst Karima Brown, and columnist Eusebius McKaiser – who writes for the Mail & Guardian – as being defenders of white monopoly capital. Eyewitness News editor Katy Katopodis was later added to the BLF list. The group has threatened to protest outside the private homes of journalists it disagrees with.

The BLF has already protested outside Bruce’s house, where Sanef says they harassed and intimidated Business Day editor Tim Cohen and Brown. Cohen was reportedly assaulted as he tried to photograph BLF protestors.  

Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Gallens said in the forum’s founding affidavit that the threats are an attempt to silence media reports on state capture.

“The concerns around state capture are rife. Not a day goes by that we as South Africans are not faced with the pervasive impact of its corruption and maladministration. It is important that free and independent journalism is brought to bear on these reports because the media is also a catalyst of peace, dialogue and understanding, which will create the framework for the public to digest these reports within the bounds of the rule of law. If we are perceived in any way as falsifying information because we are being threatened, public debate becomes fractured, polarised and I daresay, volatile as a consequence of segments of society perceiving themselves as being misled,” Gallens stated.

Sanef’s application has already been served on BLF and Mngxitama, but on Tuesday morning McKaiser received a tweet from Mngxitama, which advised him to drink “Biko syrup”. The tweet appears to suggest that McKaiser believes “white is right”.

The  South African Human Rights Commission and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula have condemned BLF’s media threats. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories