In South Africa, and Netwerk24 has spoken out after the EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, attempted to attack one of its reporters, Adrian De Kock. De Kock reportedly went over to Shivambu to take a photo and get a comment about the disciplinary hearing of Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille, when he began to get aggressive. De Kock reported: "I went to him and I said to him: 'Do you have any comment,' and he said: 'No, you must delete the picture,' and I said: 'I can't delete the pictures'. "And then he started grabbing my camera, trying to delete the pictures… He went for my camera and then tried to break my camera."
The video shows De Kock cornered against the wall with Shivambu and his accomplice grabbing at his camera, while De Kock shouts, "Leave my stuff alone! Do you want to go to court?". Bystanders intervened and Shivambu walked away, De Kock explains the situation saying that Shivambu tried to grab the camera to delete the pictures but, when De Kock said he would lay assault charges, Shivambu started grabbing his throat.
Netwerk24 editor, Henriette Loubser, spoke against the attack "in the strongest terms". "Journalists should be free to do their work without being intimidated or attacked," she said.
A bystander who witnessed the attack said: "It didn't look like there was any provocation. It was shocking behaviour." Parliamentary Press Gallery Association (PGA) chairperson, Andisiwe Makinana, said the association was "appalled by the assault" on De Kock and that "Any journalist working in the parliamentary precinct, on assignment and outside any restricted area, has the full right to photograph and ask questions of any public representative. There was no need for Mr Shivambu to assault Mr De Kock." She said that the PGA would write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and the EFF requesting an apology from Shivambu and for disciplinary action to be taken against him.
Shivambu has apologised for his behaviour since the incident, acknowledging that he did attack De Kock, saying: " It 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.
"Whilst I was in a hurry to attend the committee meeting, I accept that my impatience with the gentleman was inappropriate."
Shivambu said he would write an official apology to De Kock. "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. I will not do media interviews concerning the incident because I believe there are important other issues to speak about in the public discourse, than a scuffle."
However, this is not the first time Shivambu has found himself apologising for his temper with journalists. In 2016 he was accused of calling an ANN7 journalist a "Gupta agent", saying: "You're not a journalist, you're a Gupta agent". In 2012, while holding the position of ANC Youth League spokesperson, he had to apologise for calling a journalist a "white bitch". In 2013, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ordered Shivambu to apologise for remarks to Saturday Star news editor, Kashiefa Ajam, for calling her a "drunkard".
The office of the ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu called for the Speaker of Parliment to " thoroughly investigate this incident and impose the appropriate sanction for such unbecoming behaviour."