BLF storms into Absa after Sanef in­ter­dict bid

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TSHI­AMO MATOJANE AND ASANDE MA­JOLA

BLACK FIRST Land First (BLF) used yes­ter­day’s court ap­pear­ance to kill two birds with one stone.

After ar­gu­ing that it had the right to protest against bi­ased and racist re­ports by jour­nal­ists, BLF mem­bers stormed into the Absa build­ing on Gandhi Square in the Joburg CBD.

In the high court in Joburg, the SA Na­tional Ed­i­tors’ Fo­rum (Sanef) filed an ap­pli­ca­tion for an ur­gent in­ter­dict against Andile Mngxi­tama and the BLF, fol­low­ing re­cent in­stances of al­leged in­tim­i­da­tion and as­sault of jour­nal­ists.

In her af­fi­davit, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Karima Brown stated that she was as­saulted and not pro­tected by the po­lice dur­ing a demon­stra­tion by BLF mem­bers at the home of Tiso Black­star edi­tor-in-chief Peter Bruce on June 29.

“Jour­nal­ists run­ning to court is abuse of the law. They are saying they will go to court be­cause they don’t trust the SAPS,” said BLF’s Bran­don Tsha­bangu.

Tsha­bangu stated that the ap­pli­ca­tion should not be con­sid­ered ur­gent be­cause there had been only one protest and no other vi­o­lent acts fol­low­ing that. When ques­tioned by Judge Cor­rie van der Westhuizen on the var­i­ous tweets in­tend­ing harm on jour­nal­ists, Tsha­bangu stated that the BLF was not as­so­ci­ated with these tweets.

He claimed that they were the opin­ions of or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

Ad­vo­cate Tem­beka Ngcukaitobi, for Sanef, ar­gued that the court had an obli­ga­tion to step in and stop crim­i­nal acts.

“BLF’s brand of protest is a brand of crim­i­nal­ity. Why must the court wait for an­other jour­nal­ist to be as­saulted be­fore it acts?”

Judge Van der Westhuizen dis­missed Tsha­bangu’s mo­tion that the case was not ur­gent. The court was set to de­liver judg­ment at noon to­day.

Out­side the court, Mngxi­tama ex­pressed a lack of trust in white people and ques­tioned whether Judge Van der Westhuizen would show them fair­ness in to­day’s court rul­ing.

Mngxi­tama said: “We sub­scribe to free­dom of the press. We sub­scribe to free­dom of ex­pres­sion. But we will not sub­scribe to any­one pro­mot­ing racism and cov­er­ing up cor­rup­tion of white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal.”

Led by Mngxi­tama, the BLF marched from the high court into the streets of the CBD, singing Strug­gle songs. On ar­rival at Gandhi Square, mem­bers stormed into the Absa build­ing de­mand­ing that it be shut down.

Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane last week rec­om­mend that govern­ment take le­gal ac­tion to re­cover over R1 bil­lion as part of the funds un­law­fully given to Absa dur­ing apartheid.

“We want our money back,” said Mngxi­tama. “Let us be here to­mor­row at 12 o’clock.”

The court, how­ever, is­sued a late in­ter­dict against the BLF march­ing to Absa.

BLF’s brand of protest is a brand of crim­i­nal­ity

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