In an attempt to assert its stance over the recent security mayhem prohibiting any media from publishing pictures of Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, this morning Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, under the instruction of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, issued a warrant of arrest against City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee.
News of Haffajee’s arrest, reminiscent to acts executed during the old apartheid regime, has send waves of shock, anger and disbelief across news rooms, with SANEF deeming it as illegal and downright unconstitutional.
“In a country that presents itself as liberal and democratic, a country where the right to information and freedom of speech is enshrined on its constitution, this happens? Is this Zimbabwe where journalists are arrested for writing truths about their pathetic government? This is shocking beyond measurable proportions, ” said one unpleasantly surprised SANEF member.
Sources close to the situation claims that the men in blue “just rocked up” and disrupted an editorial meeting held earlier on between Haffajee and her team.
One journalist, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of following her boss lady to the docks, claims the police ambushed Ferial like the most wanted jail bird without as much as reading out what her charges where.
“It was like watching an episode of Molo Fish… We just stood there in total awe… The government is really desperate in trying to silence the media. Tax payers money was used to pay for Nkandla and covering such is in the interest of the public, not a security breach. We can’t even write about what just happened without risking going to jail,” lamented the distressed and fearful journalist.
According to a statement released just moments ago by the State Security Office, the arrest of City Press’ editor is one of many to follow.
“…we unequivocally want to send a very strong message to members of the media who have blatantly and arrogantly ignored the state security’s call to stop publishing pictures of the honorable president, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma’s private residence, failing which WILL result in a federal offense punishable before the court of law..,” the statement read in part.
“We also appeal to residents of the republic to report anyone seen publishing such on social media platforms, as this is an offense under National Key Points Act…. We intend on taking appropriate legal measures to ensure that all culprits are brought to book…,” the statement further alluded.
Siyabonga Cwele added that it was the security cluster’s constitutional mandate to protect national security and the security of the president. “We will continue to do that (and) we are not going to outsource our function to protect the president,” he said.
Ferial Haffajee’s arrest comes amidst the controversial Protection of Information Bill, which, to a large extend, will see government’s [unwritten] self-enrichment policy come to pass without fear of ever being exposed. To add salt to injury, ANC’s Jackson Mthembu, who did not mince his words when probed for comment, welcomed and celebrated the news.
“Let this be a lesson to publications that are hell-bent on destroying the reputation of the ruling party. I am unashamedly rejoicing, and a track from my soon to be released single, “Don’t buy City Press – Don’t buy!”, will be blasting on repeat.
“We are tired of these women trying to wear men pants. Thuli Mandonsela should follow suit…” said the visibly excited Mthembu.
The past two weeks has seen a war of words between the security cluster and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, where the government approached the courts for an interdict to stop the release of her Nkandla report. The court action was later withdrawn as the cluster did not “have any appetite for running in and out of courts”.
Presidential spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, could on be reached for comment.
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