In a tweet at nearly midnight on Monday, investigative journalist Jacques Pauw said he had considered an appeal from the SA National Editors’ Forum and agreed to delete a tweet pointing out the estate at which EFF leader Julius Malema’s wife and children reside in Hyde Park.
He had posted the Google Earth satellite photo of the complex in relation to questions about how it was possible for the EFF leader to have self-confessed cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti, apparently a longtime personal friend, as landlord to his family.
Pauw said he had not initially considered that there might be any risk to the Malemas of him doing so, since the northern Joburg complex was well guarded and secure, but he accepted Sanef’s view that it was wrong, and so he deleted the tweet. Twitter users, however, were quick to point out to Pauw that the damage was supposedly done and that the privacy of Malema’s family could not be restored by him deleting the image.
Pauw, however, defended the fact that he had earlier posted a photo of Malema with his infant son sitting next to Mazzotti, as this image had already been freely uploaded to Facebook and was in the public domain.
Malema has also in the past shared photos of himself with his young son.
SANEF asked me to delete the tweet with the address of Julius Malema’s house in Mazzotti’s complex. I thought it was justified to post his address as it is a guarded complex with state-of-the-art security. SANEF says it was wrong to do so. I accept that and deleted the tweet.
— Jacques Pauw (@Jaqqs) December 3, 2018
The EFF has also lashed at me for posting a picture last week of Malema posing with Mazzotti and his business partners. Malema’s child sits on his lap. That picture was posted some time ago on Facebook by one of the people that was there. It was already in the public domain.
— Jacques Pauw (@Jaqqs) December 3, 2018
The EFF on Monday voiced condemnation and disgust at the media over both issues, claiming they were being unfairly targeted.
“The EFF condemns in the strongest terms and with the disgust it deserves, the publication of CIC (commander in chief) Julius Malema’s family residence.
“In an attempt to discredit the leader of the EFF, media has published the residential address where his wife, the mother of two infant children, lives,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.
Ndlozi said the reports compromised the security of Malema, as well as his wife and children.
“No one, including civil society organisations or Sanef has said anything when the security of the Malema family is laid bare on public platforms.
“After the journalist working on this story confirmed that the Malema family lives in that residential address they have gone on to publishing it, including images of the property itself.”
He went on to accuse the media of targetting the EFF and warned that the party would not tolerate being attacked.
“We must warn all in the media that we will not tolerate their unethical, double standard and obsessive attack on the EFF leadership. The invasion of the privacy of the EFF leadership and their families, all in an attempt to discredit our revolution and its objectives, cannot be tolerated.”
Mazzotti has a long-standing association with the EFF and paid the R200,0000 registration fee on behalf of the party ahead of the 2014 general elections.
News articles on the property Malema uses when he is in Johannesburg recalled that in July Pauw wrote that Malema had accepted a loan from a business associate of Mazzotti’s.
Ndlozi, citing Pauw publishing a photograph of one of Malema’s children, said the media had no respect for the rights of the family.
“Still, no one raised any problems with him because the dignity, the safety and the general security of the Malema family is not important to journalists in this country.”
The EFF, and Malema in particular, have in the wake of findings implicating it in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal carried on a campaign of insults and threats against journalists, accusing individual reporters of bias and racism, and urging his supporters to “deal with them decisively”.