Police clamp down on Qunu media

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Soldiers guard the home of Nelson Mandela in Qunu. PICTURE: REUTERS

Qunu - Police stopped journalists from going to the houses they are renting, which are in close proximity of former president Nelson Mandela's home in Qunu on Wednesday.

“Everything has been hunky dory, and now all of a sudden we can't go in without any prior warning,” a photographer said.

“We can't even go inside to fetch our clothes.”

He said he had been renting a room on the property - located on the side of the N2 - since Saturday with no problems.

The police initially told him they would escort him in to fetch his belongings but then said they could not because they would get fired.

Other media staying on the same property were stuck outside. Some media houses had paid locals to accommodate their journalists.

This comes after the local government called on residents to open their homes.

However on Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the media in Qunu was “violating protocol”.

This left media confused in Qunu because it was not clear what was violated.

In a statement Chabane said: “It has, however, come to our attention that some members of the media have violated the protocols and arrangements that are in place in Qunu, and that this is causing frustration for the authorities and the Mandela family and community of Qunu.

“Government appeals to members of the media to respect former president Nelson Mandela's final resting place in Qunu, Eastern Cape.”

Madiba's final resting place was culturally significant to the amaThembu clan and Chabane asked the media to “please be sensitive to this and respect this site”.

Police have closed off the N2 - which is the main road to and from Qunu - for a few kilometres before and after Mandela's house.

The side road through Qunu, which media and other people used to get to the house, was closed late on Tuesday afternoon.


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