Pretoria - The Economic Freedom Fighters has rejected Eyewitness News' apology over an insult made by journalist Barry Bateman allegedly aimed at Julius Malema.
This comes after Eyewitness News apologised to Malema after Bateman allegedly called him a "p**s" at an impromptu press briefing outside the Hawks offices.
Bateman was caught on camera using derogatory words while in conversation with another reporter. The video was widely shared on social media.
"Bateman was taken off air immediately after we were made aware of the video. EWN will hold an internal probe that will deal with the matter appropriately," said EWN in a statement.
The Red Berets rejected the "lukewarm and delayed" apology, calling on EWN to take "concomitant" action.
"One must simply imagine what would have happened had the EFF responded to Bateman on the scene to his naked provocation. It is obvious that many would blame EFF for being intolerant of the media and suppressing media freedom
"It is obvious that Bateman could swear at the EFF President Julius Malema because South African journalism has allowed, condoned and promoted biased reporters."
Malema was summoned to the Hawks’ offices in Pretoria on Tuesday, where he was asked to sign a warning statement pertaining to the charge of discharging a firearm in a public place as well as allegedly assaulting a police officer at the funeral of Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Malema has since refused to do so.
Speaking outside the Hawks’ offices, Malema, who was accompanied by his legal team, said the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations had instituted five charges against him.
“They asked us to respond to those charges, and we said we will not say anything. If they want to charge (me), they must charge (me), and we will speak in court,” Malema said.
The pending charges against Malema followed a complaint lodged by AfriForum with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) early this year, soon after the police officer lodged a criminal case against Malema and EFF spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
AfriForum also threatened private prosecution of the two, if the NPA declined to prosecute.
But last week, the NPA notified AfriForum that it intended to forge ahead with the prosecution.
It is believed that Malema and Ndlozi allegedly assaulted a senior policeman in uniform in an incident that was captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
The senior policeman opened a case, but it allegedly received no police attention until AfriForum’s private prosecution unit enquired about the investigation in January.
About his meeting with the Hawks yesterday, Malema said: “The Hawks have never had a problem meeting with us, either in our office or in the offices of our lawyers. We were shocked by this drama today But otherwise we subject ourselves to the rule of law and respect the institution of the state.”
He was adamant that he was prepared to answer to any charges against him at an “appropriate forum".
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said a decision on the criminal charges would be taken in due course.
On the assault charge, Malema said: “We will not even make an apology about that. I was provoked. If anything, the white man owes us an apology for refusing Winnie’s children the right to bury her.”
The EFF leader said the Hawks were making a joke of the justice system.
He also used the platform to quash allegations in a damning media report about his alleged usage of his Mahuna Investment credit card to purchase items ranging from expensive clothing and groceries to school fees.
A report in the Daily Maverick claimed that the cash in Mahuna Investment was looted from VBS Bank as a “slush fund” through Mahuna Investment.
Malema described the article as “rubbish and a fabrication, and went on to refute the numerous allegations levelled against him, including claims that the money was used for school-related expenses for his son, and that he bought Gucci and Louis Vuitton-branded clothing.
Meanwhile, the EFF “rejected with contempt” pending action against its MPs for their failed attempt to stop Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan from delivering his budget vote speech in July.
This came in the wake of the sub-committee report on the physical removal of members from the chamber presented to the rules committee after National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise ordered the probe.
Briefing the rules committee yesterday, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said the EFF members crowding the floor space of the chamber to prevent the minister from delivering his speech, constituted a breach of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures Act.
The EFF's Natasha Ntlangwini has rejected the sub-committee’s recommendations.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina welcomed the report and the recommendation on hauling the EFF MPs before the powers and privileges committee. “I don't want to dwell too much on what happened that day,” Majodina said.
Political Bureau and IOL