Thu, 12 Dec 2019

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is engaging with EFF leader Julius Malema about a complaint relating to veteran journalist Karima Brown.

"Our attorney dealing with the investigation has made contact with the EFF," said IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo about a case involving Malema posting Brown's contact details.

This resulted in a series of threats being sent to her.

"Principles of natural justice demand that we give the person against whom an allegation is made an opportunity to hear his side of the story. The EFF has requested more time to consider their response," Mamabolo told journalists during a media briefing on Thursday.

He said the commission would analyse the matter once the report is complete.

Brown seemingly posted an editorial brief in an EFF media WhatsApp group after the party posted an invitation to an EFF "Breakfast With The Elderly" function held early in March.

Brown responded: "Keep an eye out for this. Who are these elders. Are they all male and how are they chosen. Keep watching brief (sic)," News24 previously reported.

Malema tweeted a screenshot of the message, accusing her of "sending moles" to the event. Her cellphone number was visible in the screenshot.

Brown said she then received rape threats from and was intimidated by EFF supporters after the tweet made her cellphone number public.

The EFF leader defended the post when he spoke to journalists at the "Breakfast with the Elderly" event. Malema said he doubted that EFF supporters were harassing Brown.

An EFF statement, which was released later, labelled Brown an "ANC operative" who was "not a real journalist".

According to the IEC's Handbook on Electoral Offences, all registered parties were bound by the Electoral Code of Conduct and had to instruct its candidates, political office bearers, members and supporters to comply with the code and any applicable electoral laws.

The code makes provision for the role of the media and parties have to ensure journalists "are not subjected to harassment, intimidation, hazard, threat or physical assault by any of their representatives or supporters".

Under prohibited conduct, it states that no party may use language or act in a way to provoke violence during an election.

The South African National Editors' Forum and Primedia Broadcasting condemned Malema's actions as well as that of the so-called EFF supporters.

Brown also opened a case of intimidation against the EFF and its leaders at the Rosebank police station in Johannesburg, which was under investigation.

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