This just in: ANCYL responds to #SpeakZA
Bloggers For a Free Press
Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth
League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a
letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political
journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This
complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain
journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani
Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation
that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by
Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a
grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards
dictatorial rule in South Africa.
We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the
actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic
safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their
positions of power for personal and political gain.
The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under
difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial
moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note
that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target
journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to
silence them in their legitimate work.
We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC
Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of
complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and
the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a
response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the
so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but a insolent effort to
intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information
about the Youth League President.
We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and
other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.