Cape Town - Journalist Qaanitah Hunter has allegedly received death threats following the Sunday Times article she co-wrote with Jeff Wicks alleging that former president Jacob Zuma met with a number of his allies at a Durban hotel to plot the ouster of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to Hunter, the death threats were made by ANC Women's League secretary general Meokgo Matuba, and included a picture of a firearm.
In a statement, Matuba accused the journalists of “peddling lies” and said Hunter was “becoming an embodiment of gutter journalism”. Matuba has denied any knowledge of the threats and claimed she shared the cellphone with many people.
ANCYL KZN secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo has denied being involved in the alleged plot to topple the current ANC leadership. The ruling party has labelled story titled "Exposed: Zuma plot to oust Cyril" as "sensational hot air".
The Cape Town Press Club has condemned the death threats levelled against Hunter.
"We will not simply stand aside when journalists are personally attacked and threatened, particularly by political leaders who ought to be setting an example," the press club said in a statement on Monday.
"While the club will not comment on the merits of the story, it does note that various ruling party structures, particularly the ANC Women’s League, immediately condemned the newspaper report, claiming that it was false and that the meeting did not take place. This was despite the publication of photographs and subsequent eyewitness accounts that Zuma and other prominent ANC members were in fact at the hotel as Hunter and Wicks had reported."
The press club says the ANCWL's actions raise serious questions about their commitment to a free press.