Mngxitama, BLF indicted
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