The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) is outraged and shocked at the attack on Rapport journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh by the former chief executive officer of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Lucky Montana.
Myburgh has opened a case of assault and malicious damage to property at the Brooklyn police office against Montana.
Montana threatened to throw a brick at Myburgh after the journalist was investigating Montana’s new house in Waterkloof, Pretoria on Thursday evening. Myburgh was following up on a tip-off he received regarding the financing of the house and wanted to speak to as many people as possible involved with the construction of the property.
At no stage did he enter the property.
This follows Myburgh’s revelations of alleged impropriety with the financing of properties linked to Montana in Johannesburg and Cape Town earlier this year.
Myburgh was seated in a company car in the street outside Montana’s house, which is still a building site. Myburgh drove closer to the gate and asked an employee if he could speak to Montana.
The next moment Montana appeared with a brick in his hand. Myburgh, who was seated in the vehicle, told Montana he wanted to talk to him about the house. Montana became agitated and aimed the brick at Myburgh. Montana asked Myburgh what he was doing at his house.
Myburgh sped off and Montana threw the brick at his car. It hit the back-door and damaged the vehicle.
On legal advice, Myburgh went to the Brooklyn police station where he laid charges against Montana.
Sanef fully supports the pursuit of criminal charges against Montana and encourages Myburgh and his employer to also consider instituting a civil claim against him for this thuggish behaviour.
* Sanef further condemns the harassment of The Citizen photographer Allister Russell by police at a march on the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park campus on Wednesday.
Russell was taking pictures of a march by the EFF Student Command when he was apprehended by a police officers, who told him that he will “be in trouble” if pictures of him appeared in the newspaper.
Police officers randomly harassed Russell during the protest and pushed him away whenever he tried to photograph the arrest of scores of young students.
Sanef condemns this action in the strongest terms and will take up the matter with the office of General Riah Phiyega, the national police commissioner, who had previously stated that journalists and photographers should be treated with respect at crime scenes.
For more enquiries Contact:
Chairperson Media Freedom Committee
Deputy Chairperson Media Freedom Committee
(011) 646 8790