The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has slammed what it calls intimidation of journalists by parliamentary security officials and police at this week's chaotic State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Some journalists complained they were prevented from taking pictures by police officers while others say they were barred from re-entering the National Assembly after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs were forcibly removed.
The EFF MPs were ejected after they refused to obey orders from the presiding officers.
EFF leader Julius Malema said President Jacob Zuma broken his oath of office, therefore he cannot address Members of Parliament.
“We are not going to be intimidated by soldiers, by police or criminals who are hell bent at defending a constitutional delinquent – a man who is prepared to violate the Constitution."
Sanef deputy chairperson Katy Katopodis says, “There appears to have been confusion by individual members of the security establishment who adopted a haphazard approach and appeared not to be aware of assurances that the media would not be obstructed.
“Sanef is deeply concerned by these events as we view it as a security crackdown on the media in the wake of broader securitisation of what ought to be the people’s Parliament.”
On Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) announced during a media briefing they will approach the Western Cape High Court over the deployment of army officials in the parliamentary precinct during Sona on Thursday night.
The party says there were heavily armed members of the military police and other members of the national force inside the parliamentary precinct.
Over 400 SA National Defence Force soldiers were deployed to Cape Town to work hand in hand with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to, according to President Zuma, maintain law and order.