Mngxi­tama, BLF in­dicted

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VENTER

BLACK First Land First (BLF) and its leader Andile Mngxi­tama will have to toe the line if they want to avoid the con­se­quences, af­ter the high court in Joburg this week held them in con­tempt.

Mngxi­tama was sen­tenced to 90 days’ im­pris­on­ment sus­pended in­def­i­nitely, on con­di­tion that he did not ha­rass or threaten any jour­nal­ist.

The or­der was ex­tended to all jour­nal­ists who may be threat­ened in fu­ture by the or­gan­i­sa­tion. If they vi­o­late the or­der, they may also be slapped with a R100 000 fine.

This was af­ter the court found BLF to be in con­tempt of a court or­der handed down last month. The SA Na­tional Edi­tors’ Fo­rum (Sanef) had launched an ur­gent court ap­pli­ca­tion as it felt that Mngxi­tama and BLF had vi­o­lated the ear­lier or­der.

But Mngxi­tama told the me­dia out­side court that he con­sid­ered ap­peal­ing against the rul­ing, as he and BLF were not in the wrong. He said he and his or­gan­i­sa­tion would de­fend them­selves against any “white racists”.

Sam Sole, top in­ves­tiga­tive reporter and man­ag­ing direc­tor of the amaBhun­gane Cen­tre for In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ism, said in his af­fi­davit that de­spite last month’s court or­der, BLF and Mngxi­tama had con­tin­ued their at­tacks on jour­nal­ists, “solely be­cause of their in­de­pen­dent re­port­ing and the work they do as jour­nal­ists”.

BLF were in­ter­dicted on July 7 from ha­rass­ing, threat­en­ing or go­ing to the homes of jour­nal­ists. This in­cluded mak­ing any in­tim­i­dat­ing ges­tures on so­cial me­dia.

“They have wil­fully breached the or­der,” Sole said. He stressed that all jour­nal­ists were in fact wor­thy of pro­tec­tion. He said each act of ha­rass­ment, intimidation and vi­o­lence per­pe­trated by the re­spon­dents against jour­nal­ists was part of an or­ches­trated cam­paign to si­lence them.

Sanef last month turned to the court fol­low­ing at­tacks on jour­nal­ists who had been re­port­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily and is­sues sur­round­ing them as well as state cap­ture. But BLF had con­tin­ued to ha­rass jour­nal­ists.

Face big fine, jail if they con­tinue to ha­rass jour­nal­ists

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