JOHANNESBURG. – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu says he regrets and will write a formal apology after a confrontation with a journalist outside parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday‚ saying he regretted his “impatience”.
The assault sparked widespread condemnation and calls on the party to distance itself from its deputy president’s behaviour.
Shivambu was caught on camera assaulting Adrian de Kock‚ from Media 24‚ who was waiting with other journalists outside the building where Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s disciplinary hearing is taking place.
De Kock saw Shivambu‚ asked if he wanted to comment about the hearing and took pictures of the politician. Shivambu then insisted that De Kock delete the images because he had not given consent for them to be taken.
He held De Kock by the neck and tried to grab the camera‚ and two unknown men also approached the journalist.
“Leave my stuff alone. Leave my stuff alone‚” the journalist is heard screaming as he was being manhandled.
Shivambu then walked away while one of the men continued to attack De Kock.
“Floyd grabbed my throat saying‚ ‘You don’t have permission’‚” said the visibly shaken journalist.
He told TimesLIVE he would lay assault charges with police.
In a statement issued by the EFF a few hours later‚ Shivambu admitted to being involved in “a scuffle” but said he did not regard it as an “assault” on De Kock nor on media freedom.
His statement read:
“Today‚ the 20th of March 2018, I was engaged in a scuffle with a photographer/journalist in Parliament. The scuffle was a result of circumstances which included taking of photographs and persistence to speak to me whilst receiving documents from staff members in order to attend the Standing Committee on Finance. Whilst I was in a hurry to attend the committee meeting‚ I accept that my impatience with the gentleman was inappropriate.
“The scuffle happened and was never an assault on the Journalist or media freedom. I regret the incident and believe it should have been handled differently. I take full responsibility and apologise for engaging in a scuffle with a person I discovered after the incident is a journalist. I will write and email an official apology on the scuffle because I believe it was not supposed to happen.
“The EFF‚ which I represent in Parliament and deputy president of‚ upholds media freedom‚ and freedom of association. As a loyal member of the EFF‚ I fully uphold media freedom and freedom of association‚ and the scuffle was not meant to suppress these constitutional principles.” – Times Live