ZUJ secretary general Foster Dongozi said Malema’s bodyguards prevented Daily News reporters Bethule Nkiwane and Tendai Kamhungira from getting an interview from the expelled ANC youth league president who was in the country to attend a wedding of a Zanu (PF) youth wing member.
“As African journalists, we have been campaigning for the safety and protection of African journalists at the African Union Commission and sadly, Malema’s compatriot, the incoming AU chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma will have to deal with our complaint, we cannot have our journalists being harassed as a result of violence imported from South Africa through Malema’s bodyguards.”
Dongozi added: “We demand that Malema should issue an unconditional apology for the trauma brought on the journalists and that they should return the memory card which was stolen by his aides from his camera.”
Dongozi said ZUJ was going to raise its concerns with among others the South African Embassy and the African Commission’s Special Rappateur on Access to Information and Freedom of Expression, Pansy Tlakula.
“Recently, following massive engagement and lobbying, the United Nations Council on Human Rights adopted resolutions on the safety of journalists which have to be respected by State and non State actors including violent mobs accompanying Malema,” he said.
Malema is a close ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe whom he has described as a hero although the 88 year old leader is criticised locally and internationally for using violence against his opponents and electoral fraud.
Malema arrived in the country on Friday and was whisked away by state security agents as well as Zanu (PF) officials using another exit on the Harare International Airport to the disappointment of journalists who had gathered to get an interview with him.
Malema is fighting for his political survival in South Africa after he was expelled from the ANC. He is allegedly supporting the removal of President Jacob Zuma as head of the ANC and the country at the party’s elective conference in December.