JOHANNESBURG, August 8 – The South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday handed a three-month jail sentence to Black First-Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, for violating a court interdict that prevented him and his party from intimidating journalists.
Though the court ruled that they were in contempt of an earlier court order and also liable for costs in this case, Mgxitama’s sentence was suspended indefinitely.
This follows the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) obtaining an interdict in this regard against Mgxitama and BLF on 7 July. Sanef and 11 journalists, commentators and editors had asked the High Court in Johannesburg for an urgent interdict against BLF members, to stop them from harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening them.
The interdict followed an illegal protest at the private home of Tiso Blackstar editor at large Peter Bruce on Thursday 29 June and the intimidation and harassment of Business Day editor Tim Cohen and political commentator Karima Brown.
BLF subsequently threatened more editors and journalists with similar protests at their private homes and referred to Brown, HuffPost editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee and Talk Radio 702 presenter Eusebius McKaiser as “askaris”- a deeply offensive term used mainly during the apartheid era to refer to liberation fighters who changed sides and joined the oppressive regime.
The other co-applicants in the matter were amaBhungane partner Sam Sole, News24 editor Adriaan Basson, EWN and Talk Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes, independent journalist Max du Preez, EWN editor Katy Katopodis and EWN reporter Barry Bateman.
The court said if the interdict is breached again, then BLF and Mgxitama will be liable to pay a R100,000 fine. The interdict was also extended to include all journalists.
– African News Agency (ANA)