Sat, 20 Jul 2019

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has condemned the manhandling of two journalists, allegedly at the hands of Durban authorities, during a protest in support of suspended eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede.

"Sanef is very disturbed to hear about the arrest and the attack on both journalists. We call on the eThekwini municipality to investigate the matter and have the charges dropped," Sanef director Kate Skinner on Thursday.

The statement comes after Independent Media's political journalist, Sihle Mavuso, was allegedly assaulted and arrested by metro police during the protest.

Mavuso had been filming violent clashes between police and protesters, and was arrested despite the clashes taking place in public outside Durban City Hall.

He has since been released.

eNCA journalist Siphamandla Goge was also manhandled and roughed up, but was not arrested.

WATCH: Journalists manhandled, detained as Zandile Gumede supporters and police clash

Skinner said it was not the first time journalists covering matters relating to Gumede came under attack.

"At previous protests, journalists were verbally threatened by supporters. Sanef calls on the ANC leadership in KZN to take swift action against their members who disregard the role of the media and continue to attack journalists."

She said the media had an important role to play in South Africa's democracy.

"When journalists who report for public good are attacked it means the public is robbed of information and of the truth."

She said there were several channels for recourse if anyone has a grievance against a journalist or a publication/broadcast of a story.

"This includes talking to the editor of the media house, filing a complaint with the Press Ombudsman for print and online and going to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for broadcast complaints."

Seven people were arrested for protest action on Thursday. The group of around 500 protesters are expected to march to the ANC headquarters later on Thursday.

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