Allow communities to express themselves: ANC EC

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The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape says communities should be allowed to express their grievances.

This comes after Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams obstructed the SABC news crew from reporting on the disruption of the party’s election manifesto launch on Saturday.

ANC Eastern Cape Chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane says, “I don’t think there was anything wrong with the demonstration, we have been seeing demonstrations in every gathering of the ANC. Surely it can’t be right if there be anyone who would be tampering with that. We want people to be free when they want to express themselves; we want those placards to be actually out there in the public. This is what we know, this is what we have spoken about but surely on that one, whoever has done that was completely out of order.”

Meanwhile, Media Monitoring Africa executive director, William Bird, says President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to take appropriate action against Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

On Saturday, Ndabeni-Abrahams stopped a SABC television news crew from reporting on a protest at the launch of the ANC Eastern Cape election manifesto.

The Minister has issued a statement apologising for the incident and reaffirmed her commitment to media freedom.

However, Bird says given that this is an election year the governing party has to earn back the trust of the media in terms of ensuring their freedom.

“In as much as her apology needs to be taken into consideration, it’s an extraordinary act and I think that there needs to be some consequences for this. They were prevented from doing their basic job and their basic duty. So the President has to take some kind of action against this. I don’t think that he could possibly allow one of the ministers in his cabinet in the lead up to election to be saying, oh well she’s apologised, everything is fine… She’s got a long road to travel now to regain our belief and our trust in her that she does actually have a real commitment to media freedom. This is a big problem now for the ANC.”