The Black First Land First group was not deterred by an interdict barring its members from threatening journalists.
Speaking after Judge Corrie van der Westhuizen had granted the South African National Editors’ Forum an interdict against at the South Gauteng High Court, BFL spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp said: “A white justice system will never grant black justice.
“We knew what was coming, we did not fool ourselves into believing that a white-racist system would support our cause. We will achieve our mandate, which is to end racism — a consequence of white supremacy. In the economic sphere this manifests itself as white monopoly capital and we seek to end it by any means necessary.”
Maasdorp went on to say: “White pseudo-racist journalists and Absa can expect us to continue to conscientise the public through writings as well as more protests if necessary. We are not deterred by this judgment.”
Sanef secretary-general Reggy Moalusi said: “Everyone has the right to protest, however the line has to be drawn somewhere. When journalists are threatened – in the name of protesting outside their houses and their property is destroyed – that is totally unacceptable.”
Moalusi said Sanef was happy with the judgment because it demonstrated that we lived in a democratic society where the rule of law applied to all and should likewise be respected by all.
He also urged the BLF to stop being so divisive as their actions sort to split journalists across racial lines in that they only singled out white journalists.
“They should leave journalists to do their jobs,” Moalusi added.
The forum’s chairperson, Mahlatse Gallens, had on Thursday expressed similar sentiments. She told the BLF to leave journalists to do their work, adding that if they disagreed with the facts presented by journalists they were free to explore other avenues, such as approaching the Press Council, not resorting to threats and violent action.
The opening statement of Van der Westhuizen’s ruling expressed the gravity of this ruling: “The profession of a journalist, in particular that of an investigative journalist, is seldom appreciated. More than often it is criticised.”
“Criticism of journalism should happen in journalistic platforms, not through physical attacks,” Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi had argued on Thursday.
Ngcukaitobi, who was arguing for Sanef, expressed how the threats expressed by the BFL through tweets and on their website had manifested themselves in physical harm to journalists.
He cited the assault that unfolded when the BLF had gone to protest outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce’s house in Parkview, Johannesburg.
“The purpose of the targeted harassment of these journalists is to keep allegations of corruption and state capture out of the public domain,” said Gallens.
The interdict was therefore a clear indication that “censorship has no place in a democracy”.
The interdict prevents BLF and its leader Andile Mngxitama from gathering outside the homes of journalists, from threatening journalists with violence on social media, and from inciting harm against journalists in any public interviews.