The restrictions that impeded the National Press Club (NPC) officials from covering the violent incident at the African National Congress’ (ANC) Tshwane Mayoral elective conference has been described as a threat to freedom of the press.
The National Press Club (NPC) expressed concern over the incident that saw journalists being threatened by the police and some ANC supporters as they were trying to carry out their duties by reporting and taking pictures of the alleged shooting at the ANC’s Tshwane Mayoral elective conference.
A statement by the National Press Club said, “Deputy chairperson of the NPC and Rekord content manager‚ Simone Heradien‚ was on Sunday forbidden by the South African Police Services (SAPS) to take photos within a public precinct of an alleged crime scene
“…Colonel Modise of Central SAPS told Heradien that she could not take photos despite the fact that she was on the side of the street in a public spot‚ clear of the police cordoned off taped barricade of the alleged crime scene.”
“Explaining to Colonel Modise that he was interfering with media freedom and that it remained entirely legal to take photos within a public space‚ he insisted that no photos be taken. In addition‚ Heradien was equally threatened by ANC supporters/members in ANC-T-shirts not to take photos.
“A journalist from Pretoria News‚ Sakhile Nldazi‚ was also threatened by the same ANC supporters/members from reporting on the incident. He was also told that media was not welcome on the scene nor to report on the matter‚ or take photos.”
The incident which took place opposite the Tshwane Events Centre where the Tshwane region of the ANC was holding its mayoral elective conference to decide on a candidate apparently started as a dispute among ANC members‚but erupted into something bigger.
The current Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa’s spokesperson Blessing Manale confirmed the shooting saying the “shooting took place…before the arrival of the leadership to give the outcome the final candidates decision. One person was injured and taken to hospital and the metro police and SAPS are on site and no arrests have been made.”
Meanwhile, NPC chairperson Tanya de Vente has condemned the restriction of the media to do their job.
“According to The SAPS Standing Order number 156 Section 10 (a) (c)‚ ‘a media representative may not be prohibited from taking photographs or making visual recordings’. She added that journalists should be allowed to report the news without any fear of intimidation from the police or anyone.
The final choice of the ruling party on Tshwane’s mayoral candidate has been announced on Monday as Thoko Didiza.