07/07/2017 12:11 SAST | Updated 07/07/2017 12:45 SAST

Sanef Wins Urgent Court Interdict Against Mngxitama's Black First, Land First

An assault on political commentator Karima Brown was highlighted, as well as a number of threatening tweets.

Lafedi Radebe/The Times/Gallo Images

The high court in Johannesburg has granted the South A National Editors Forum (Sanef) an interdict against and Andile Mngxitama's Black First, Land First (BLF).

Sanef appeared in court in Johannesburg on Thursday to ask the court for an urgent interdict against BLF. The application was led by organisation chairperson Mahlatse Gallens.

The applicants with Sanef were: Business Day editor Tim Cohen; Peter Bruce; Amabhungane investigative journalist Sam Sole; News24 editor Adriaan Basson; EWN journalist and political commentator Stephen Grootes; Columnist Max du Preez; EWN reporter Barry Bateman; Karima Brown; Political commentator and talk show host Eusebius McKaiser; Huffington Post editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee and Primedia Group editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis.

An assault on political commentator Karima Brown was highlighted, as well as a number of threatening tweets.

Advocate Brendon Shabangu for BLF said some of the tweets were sent in jest. He further attempted to argue that journalists were bypassing police and going straight to court. He said this was an abuse of court processes.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi for Sanef replied by saying Brown was assaulted in the presence of police, therefore the court should stop the criminal act.

"Why must the court wait for another journalist to be assaulted before it acts?"

Mngxitama strongly denied that the BLF's recent protest action against journalists amounted to harassment, intimidation or threat, or an attack on media independence.

"I want to set the record straight that no one is targeted and, as BLF, we have never planned to harass individuals, including applicants," Mngxitama said in a replying affidavit.

He said the white journalists it had mentioned in a list were sensationalising their protests and statements, to create "media hysteria".

Sanef wanted BLF to stop harassing, intimidating, assaulting and threatening journalists and editors over their reporting on state capture and corruption.

Last Thursday Business Day editor Tim Cohen was assaulted as he tried to take a picture of BLF supporters gathered outside Tiso Blackstar editor at large Peter Bruce's home in Johannesburg.

Bruce was targeted the week before in a series of articles and secretly taken photographs relating to his private life, indicating that he had been spied on.

He wrote a column in Business Day about the surveillance and mentioned Mngxitama as a ''luckless land reformer'' who had tweeted to him, "You going to get a heart attack Peter; better prepare yourself" before the surveillance footage and personal information was published on a site complaining about White Monopoly Capital (WMC).

During last Thursday's protest the words, "Land or death" had been written on Bruce's garage as placards carried by demonstrators read, "Peter you murder the truth" and "Peter propagandist of WMC". -- Additional reporting by News24