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I take responsibility & apologise for scuffle, says EFF's Shivambu

Floyd Shivambu said the scuffle was a result of circumstances which included taking of photographs and persistence to speak to him while receiving documents from staff members.

FILE: EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - EFF's Floyd Shivambu has responded after he was caught on camera assaulting a journalist at Parliament.

Media24's Adrian de Kock appeared to be waiting with other journalists outside the building, where Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s disciplinary hearing is taking place. De Kock apparently asked Shivambu if he wanted to comment and took pictures of him.

Shivambu is then seen in the video moving up closer to the journalist and appears to be intimidating him. Then De Kock is heard shouting: “Leave my stuff alone.”

De Kock had been trying to get a response from Shivambu on De Lille’s disciplinary hearing.

He says he was just doing his job: “I approached Shivambu for comments and he immediately told me to delete a picture of him. I told him we [journalists] don’t delete pictures from our cameras. He then grabbed my camera and tried to delete the picture.”

De Kock says he plans to lay a criminal charge of assault.

Shivambu said in a statement: "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 the 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). Whilst I was in a hurry to attend the committee meeting, I accept that my impatience with the gentleman was inappropriate.

"The scuffle happened and was never an assault on the journalist or 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 for the scuffle because I believe it was not supposed to happen.

"The EFF upholds media freedom and freedom of association. As a loyal member of the EFF, I fully uphold media freedom and freedom of association, and the scuffle was not meant to suppress these constitutional principles."

Shivambu added that he would not do media interviews concerning the incident because he believed "there are important other issues to speak about in the public discourse than a scuffle. Members of the media are humbly requested to use this statement as my official response and nothing else."

ANC CONDEMNS MANHANDLING OF JOURNALIST

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip strongly condemns the violent behaviour of Shivambu and two other unidentified men who manhandled a journalist.

“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," The ANC said.

“As parliamentarians, we must always be the custodians of our Constitution and our democracy, especially media freedom and freedom of expression. Any journalist working on the parliamentary precinct must be allowed to do their job without any fear of victimisation or hindrance to their work.”

The ruling party has called on the Speaker of Parliament to thoroughly investigate this incident and impose the appropriate sanction for such unbecoming behaviour.

(Edited by Refilwe Thobega)

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