Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Dirco confirms release of former M&G editor, colleague

Former Mail & Guardian editor Angela Quintal and her Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) colleague Muthoki Mumo were released by Tanzanian authorities around 3am on Thursday morning, and their travel documents has been returned to them.

This is according to department of international relations and cooperation spokesperson (Dirco) Ndivhuwo Mabaya. He told SAFM on Thursday morning that the South African High Commissioner had spoken to Quintal and her colleague who had been returned to their hotel rooms. 

Quintal is the Africa Program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and Mumo is the organisation’s Sub-Saharan Africa representative.

In a press statement released on Thursday, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said Quintal and Mumo were taken in for questioning and detained in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday evening.

“After approximately five hours, Quintal and Mumo were then returned to their Dar es Salaam hotel, at around 3am — but without their passports. Details and reasons for the detention are still not clear,” the statement noted.

“It is unclear whether the Tanzanian authorities have taken Quintal’s phone.”

In a media statement released by the Dirco, the high commissioner of South Africa in Tanzania, Thami Mseleku, informed Minister Lindiwe Sisulu that the passports of Quintal and Mumo had been returned.

Sisulu has asked that Mseleku gather all facts around Quintal and Mumo’s detention. She is expecting the report by the end of Thursday.

Quintal tweeted before 1am on Tuesday morning that she and her colleague had been released, but Quintal’s family raised concerns that the tweet did not sound as if it had come from Quintal whose Twitter account was subsequently suspended.

According to Mabaya, there are a number of issues that the South African High Commissioner will be bringing to the Tanzanian authorities. One of which is why Quintal and Mumo were detained, and why Tanzanian authorities still hold their passports. 

In a post on her Facebook page, Quintal said: “SOS we are being taken away for interrogation in Dar. We don’t know why. Taken Away from Southern Sun Hotel.”

Sanef has called on Tanzanian authorities to return Mumo and Quintal’s passports as “a matter of urgency” and allow them to leave the country at their own free will, saying, “We need to urgently find out the reasons behind this detention. We believe the arbitrary detention of journalists is a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information.” 

According to a statement released by CPJ: “Officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this evening, according to Quintal. The officials searched the pair’s belongings and would not return their passports when asked. Quintal and Mumo were then escorted from the hotel and have been taken to an unknown location. They were in the country on a reporting mission for CPJ.”

CPJ’s executive director Joel Simon has called for their immediate release. “We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania. We call on the authorities to immediately release them and return their passports.”

Press freedom has come under attack in Tanzania under the administration of President John Magufuli. As the International Press Institute reported in August: “Press freedom in Tanzania has drifted into an unprecedented crisis under Magufuli’s regime. According to the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), at least five newspapers and two radio stations have been suspended for periods ranging from three to 36 months on pretexts including ‘false information’, ‘sedition’ and ‘threatening national security’. One paper decided to suspend publication itself after publishing a story it feared might irritate officials.There have also been more violent incidences of harassment.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.

Sanef Presser – Sanef Deeply Disturbed by Detention of South African Journalist and Editor, Angela Quintal… by Mail and Guardian on Scribd

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Simon Allison
Simon Allison
Simon Allison is the Africa editor of the Mail & Guardian, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Continent. He is a 2021 Young Africa Leadership Initiative fellow.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

South Africa’s mothballed ‘supermall-ification’ sets strip malls up for success

Analysts agree that the country has enough malls and that, post-Covid, the convenience of local centres lure customers

Mabuza’s Russian jaunts and the slippery consequences of medical tourism

For more than five years the deputy president has remained steadfast in his right to travel abroad to receive medical treatment

More top stories

Deputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: ‘Don’t abandon the ANC’

Angry Atteridgeville residents hurl insults at ‘dysfunctional’ ANC full of ‘corrupt individuals’ as Mabuza fails to placate them with party T-shirts and doeks

Taxi operators clash with cops over disputed Route B97 in...

Three suspects remain in custody following their arrest on charges of attempted murder and assault after eight taxis were impounded

SA teens, you’re next in the queue for a vaccine...

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 will be able to register to receive their Covid-19 jab from 20 October. This group will be given only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, for now

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84

The 84-year-old died as a result of complications from Covid-19

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…