The SA National Editors’ Forum has expressed its shock over the refusal to allow the media to accompany a parliamentary committee visiting President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home on Wednesday. In a letter to Cedric Frolick, chairperson of the Nkandla ad hoc committee, Sanef said it believed it had a duty to ensure the media gained access.
“Sanef has been told that the committee claims that it does not have the ‘legal authority to allow the media to enter the President’s private residence’.
“However, it is also apparent that the committee and its chairman have not taken any action to facilitate access of the media to the residence during the committee’s visit,” Sanef’s media freedom committee said in a statement.
“The media represented by Sanef are deeply shocked at the refusal and what appears to be the total lack of action by the committee to overcome the perceived obstacles to it facilitating access to the media on this occasion.”
Sanef said there were several provisions in the Constitution that bolstered its view that the committee had a duty to allow the media to be present.
Sanef believes strongly that the committee has a duty to ensure that the media gains access to the residence to enable it to observe all the committee’s activities and any formal or informal and impromptu discussions conducted by the committee and its members during the visit.
“The issues surrounding the ‘Nkandla matter’ have correctly raised enormous public interest over a lengthy period and the public have a right to know how matters relating to the controversy are being dealt with.
“Sanef thus calls on the chairman and the committee to request the President in the strongest terms for permission for the media to enter the residence with the committee.” News24