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SANEF calls on Premier Lesufi to act against MEC Maile’s abusive behaviour towards a News24 journalist

5 (2)

22 August 2023

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has listened to the shocking audio where Lebogang Maile brazenly attacks News 24 journalist Kyle Cowan and unfairly accuses him of racism.

Maile, Gauteng’s MEC for Human Settlements, decided to go on this tirade all because Cowan was asking questions about the progress in the probe into the Gauteng Partnership Fund, which forms part of Maile’s responsibilities.

Maile’s conduct should not be merely condemned but his boss, Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, should call him out and also state publicly whether the views of Maile reflect those of the provincial government.

Calling Cowan, a “stupid racist white man” and telling him “f@#k you” are totally unacceptable and unbecoming of a senior leader in government.

Journalists have a right to ask questions, especially where public funds are involved. As a public official, Maile demonstrated arrogance and behaviour which brought the entire institution of government into disrepute.

Disappointingly, we have not heard a single word of condemnation from Premier Lesufi.

Leading up to the 2024 national and provincial elections, politicians should be cautioned on how they relate to the media, that their usual arrogant and dismissive behaviour towards journalists, particularly when asked uncomfortable questions, will not be tolerated by the media.

SANEF will always support the work of journalists, which includes asking tough and uncomfortable questions, and we will always speak out against any kind of rogue behaviour, regardless of who the offender is.

SANEF stands with Cowan and any other journalist who faces such forms of abuse. As an organisation, we abhor any form of bullying and attempt to intimidate and harass journalists.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223 0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (083) 229-9708

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za