Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema speaks during the second national people’s assembly in Nasrec. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The EFF has stood its ground on banning some media houses from covering its second national people's assembly which is held at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

This after the Red Berets came under fire when journalists from Daily Maverick, Scorpio, amaBhungane, Rapport and Caxton publications were denied access to the conference.

In an interview with eNCA on Saturday, EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu said whether they had a conference or any other event people who were not allowed to cover EFF events were not welcomed.

Mpofu also said the same thing would have happened to ANN7 television if there had been conference.

EFF banned the defunct Gupta-owned ANN7 from its events.

Asked whether their position was not at odds with freedom of expression, he said they had taken a posture that gave political leadership and education. 

"One of the lessons from this is that constitutional rights are not things that are there. Constitutional rights go with obligations..." Mpofu said.

"The conditional right of the media include not taking partisan sides, not vilifying selectively, not targeting certain people ..., " he added.

Sanef acting media freedom chairperson Mary Papayya said the ban on certain publications was the breach of the constitution.

Papayya also said Section 16 of the constitution was very clear about the right to media freedom and freedom of expression.

"It means freedom of the press and freedom to receive and impart information and ideas. Critical for us and critical for our democracy, this particular incident denies the citizens,” she said.

“These are voters. These are the real victims of this particular decision by the EFF Because ordinary citizens cannot now make informed choices on how they vote," Papayya said.

"This particular event, if you unravel what it is about, it is not a private function," she said.

She also EFF leader Julius Malema was an honourable MP.

"He does take the oath of office and that oath of office binds him to the constitution" 

Papayya insisted that the call for excluding certain investigative journalists was certainly at odds with that oath of office Malema took.

“We would like for the EFF to introspect into this and look at consequences what this means for our democracy,” she added.

Political Bureau