The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has charged Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) second-in-command Floyd Shivambu for assaulting journalist Adrian de Kock in March, 2018.
Western Cape NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed that Shivambu will appear at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on December 5.
According to the NPA’s spokesperson in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, Shivambu will be appearing at Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on December 5, 2019, on the charges.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) welcomed the development.
“This is a very good development because it’s making sure that politicians and any member of society that assaults a journalist is actually held to account.
“And given the kind of attacks on journalists, which are so prevalent, you want to ensure that people who attack journalists are held to account,” Sanef executive director Kate Skinner told Daily Maverick.
Shivambu grabbed De Kock by the throat outside parliament in retaliation to the journalist asking him for comment while taking a picture in an incident which was filmed on camera and went viral.
READ MORE: NPA charges Malema over rally shooting
Another EFF MP was also seen manhandling the journalist.
The EFF issued an apology over the incident, following Sanef saying such conduct was unacceptable. The Parliamentary Press Gallery Association also said it was appalled by the EFF members’ conduct.
Shivambu said in a statement that he regretted his conduct, which he blamed on having been in a hurry to get to a meeting of the finance committee, but he denied it was assault. He called it a “scuffle” and said he had not known De Kock was a journalist.
De Kock told The Citizen at the time he had been to a doctor for pain-relieving injections and physiotherapy for injuries he sustained to his back during the assault.
In a separate incident, EFF leader Julius Malema was also charged by the NPA on Wednesday, for allegedly firing live ammunition into the air at a rally to celebrate the EFF’s fifth birthday in the Eastern Cape in 2018.
NPA Eastern Cape spokesperson Luxolo Tyali confirmed the charges in a statement, saying the EFF leader has been charged with five counts, including the unlawful possession of a firearm.
A video emerged in August last year of Malema firing what looks like a high-powered automatic rifle into the air at his party’s fifth-birthday celebration at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, in the Eastern Cape.
Requests for comment from EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were ignored.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)