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ANC speaks out after journalist threatened

Politics
South Africa - The African National Congress (ANC) issued a statement condemning what it calls "a climate of intimidation steadily encroaching into South Africa's body politic". 

The statement came following a Sunday Times article stating that they have received information that the life of Mzilikazi wa Afrika, one of the publication's investigative journalist, could be in danger because of his reporting on the lucrative tenders Eskom has awarded to Impulse International. Wa Afrika also reported that Impulse donated R1.7-million to the ANC for its birthday bash in January.

According to the article, wa Africa was told his home was being watched and a possible smear campaign would be orchestrated against him. Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko said that they had decided to inform readers about this because they are deeply concerned about the matter.

Wa Afrika has reportedly signed an affidavit detailing the threats and the results of an investigation into the identities of some of the people behind them. He and his family has also been provided security protection by the media group as a safety precaution. 

"In recent months, there have been increasing reports of political leaders, activists and journalists who have come forward with claims that they have been intimidated by certain elements owing to their positions of beliefs. Some claim to even have received threats on their lives," the statement read.

"The ANC considers these threats in a very serious light and calls on those who have been threatened to report such to law enforcement authorities who must verify these claims and investigate. Such behavior is an antitheses to the health and pluralistic society we seek to build where the contestation of ideas thrives. 

"Freedom of conscience and association are inalienable rights granted to all under the Constitution. South African history is littered with violence and media suppression. Political intolerance would take South Africa back to a painful past that should not be repeated.

"Threats made against individuals because of their political or ideological beliefs is indicative of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Those who plot in dark corners and make anonymous threats as well and other forms of intimidation of others should pursue principled and legitimate forms of engagement instead of resorting to cowardly acts."

In the statement, the party "calls on all South Africans to unite and guard our hard won freedoms - including freedom of speech and association."

"We will not allow our country to become a breeding ground for political intolerance- which history has starkly shown can very quickly become a catalyst for anarchy and lawlessness."

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Investigative journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika has allegedly received death threats. File picture: Independent Media


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