Cape Town - The Department of Home Affairs said on Thursday it did not support its employees “blocking” journalists from doing their jobs.
This was in response to an incident on Tuesday when a Home Affairs official grabbed Cape Argus photographer David Ritchie and deleted pictures from his camera.
Ritchie and reporter Yolisa Tswanya were on the pavement outside the Cape Town Central police station speaking to the family and friends of immigrants arrested for not having their documents on them.
Ritchie took a picture of the official who then asked him to delete the picture. When Ritchie refused, he pulled him into the police station. Ritchie said the official grabbed the camera and deleted the pictures on the memory card, all in the presence of a policeman.
On Thursday, Cape Argus executive editor Gasant Abarder told Kieno Kammies’s show on Cape Talk: “I find it abhorrent. Whenever someone steps into a uniform, it seems, whether the police or even firefighters, they feel they have the right to block journalists from doing their jobs. We’re looking at a possible civil claim, even criminal charges… we’ve had enough of this.”
Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said: “We have a policy of transparency so we cannot support any behaviour which has to do with something like this. We will follow up to understand what happened.”