Deputy president and parliamentary chief whip of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Floyd Shivambu, has tendered a formal apology to NetWerk24 employer, Adrian de Kock, after being accused of “manhandling” the journalist within the precinct of Parliament. De Kock says Shivambu forced him to delete a photo he had shot of the politician as he was walking towards the Old Assembly Building. De Kock was approaching Shivambu for comment on the Patricia de Lille hearings, which is currently underway at Parliament. The multimedia journalist says Shivambu attempted to grab his equipment. In a video released by News24, Shivambu is seen attempting to remove de Kock’s camera from around his neck.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Shivambu said that his “impatience” with de Kock was inappropriate.
“Today, 20 March 2018, I was engaged in a scuffle with a Photographer/Journalist in Parliament. The scuffle was a result of circumstances which included taking of photographs and persistence to speak to me whilst receiving documents from staff members in order to attend the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF).”
Shivambu, however, denied that the incident was a case of assault on the journalist or an attack on media freedom.
“I regret the incident and believe it should have been handled differently. I take full responsibility and apologise for engaging in a scuffle with a person I discovered after the incident is a Journalist.
“I will write and emailed an official apology on the scuffle because I believe it was not supposed to happen,” Shivambu continued.
Meanwhile, the African National Party (ANC) has condemned what it described as “violent behaviour” by Shivambu, describing the incident as “completely unacceptable.”
“It is very regrettable and completely unacceptable that a member of Parliament, who also happens to be a Chief Whip of a party, can be found to be involved in such unbecoming behaviour. As parliamentarians, we must at all time be the custodians of our Constitution and our democracy, especially media freedom and freedom of expression.”
In a statement, the office of the ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu, affirmed that any journalist working within the precinct of Parliament must be allowed to fulfil their duties.
“We call on the Speaker of Parliament to thoroughly investigate this incident and impose the appropriate sanction for such unbecoming behaviour.”