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Pressure on electoral commission to act against EFF

Publish date: 11 March 2019
Issue Number: 814
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Pressure is building for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to act against the EFF following threats of violence against veteran journalist Karima Brown. Brown has filed a case of intimidation with police following threats of rape and death after EFF leader Julius Malema published her cell number on Twitter. Malema called Brown a ‘mole’, stating that she was not a real journalist. Brown has since indicated that she would be filing charges of intimidation, violence and enabling abuse with the Electoral Court. IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela is quoted in a Weekend Argus report as saying they advised Brown to take the matter up with the Electoral Court as they were the body with jurisdiction where the Electoral Act was concerned. The FW de Klerk Foundation has urged the IEC and other bodies to take action against the EFF following the threats made against Brown. ‘The foundation calls on the SA Human Rights Commission, the Commission for Gender Equality and the police to respond to charges laid against the party by Brown,’ the foundation said. ‘The IEC has a special responsibility to ensure that political leaders and parties scrupulously observe the principles of the Electoral Code of Conduct during election campaigns.’ International body the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also expressed its concern over the matter, says the report. ‘We are concerned about Karima Brown’s safety given the threats instigated by the malicious publication of her contact information,’ said CPJ’s Angela Quintal. ‘The electoral commission must send a strong message that using social media to threaten and intimidate journalists will not be tolerated and is a breach of the Electoral Code that could impact the credibility of the vote.’

Full Weekend Argus report (subscription needed)