High court satisfied Sanef application to halt intimidation of journalists is urgent

BLF protests outside Peter Bruce's house
BLF protests outside Peter Bruce’s house  Image: Abigail Javier
The high court in Johannesburg on Thursday held that the application by the South African National Editors Forum to halt attacks on journalists by Black First Land First (BLF) was urgent, writes Ernest Mabuza.

Sanef and 11 journalists and editors want the court to interdict BLF from harassing‚ intimidating‚ assaulting and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting and analyses on corruption and state capture.

But before the urgent application could be heard‚ BLF lawyer Brendan Tshabangu raised a number of preliminary points that he thought would dispose of Sanef’s application.

These included the fact that Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Gallens did not have the authority to bring the application on behalf of Sanef.

He also said the journalists listed in Sanef’s application were not members of Sanef. As a result‚ Tshabangu argued‚ Sanef had no authority to bring the application on their behalf.

He also said the application was not urgent.

The judge dismissed the preliminary points raised by BLF and said he would give reasons at the end of the application by Sanef and the journalists.

“I am satisfied that a case of urgency has been made‚” Van der Westhuizen said.

Business Day editor Tim Cohen was assaulted as he tried to take a picture of BLF supporters gathered outside Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large Peter Bruce’s home in Johannesburg.

Bruce had written an article where a website had secretly taken photographs relating to his private life‚ indicating that he had been spied on.

There had been threats on social media that there would be more such visits to the homes of other journalists.

These threats forced Sanef and the journalists to launch the urgent application.

The court will pass judgment on Friday.

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