Sanef seeks meeting with Police Commissioner following attack on journalist

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it is seeking an urgent meeting with National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sithole, as well as management of police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and Metro Police in Cape Town over the alleged attack of journalist Paul Nthoba.

Nthoba was  assaulted allegedly by the police at Meqheleng, close to the border between Lesotho and South Africa. It is also alleged that he was subsequently abused and incarcerated at the Ficksburg police station, where he went to lay an assault charge against the officers involved in the first incident.

The alleged incidents occurred while Nthoba was working on a story about the police visibility and taking pictures of them patrolling in Ficksburg, in the Free State.

Executive Director at Sanef Kate Skinner says, “Sanef is deeply disturbed to hear of the abuse of journalist Paul  Nthoba in a township close to the Lesotho border. However, we are even more disturbed to hear of the abuse. He was beaten up and held in the police cells for 4 hours. We are going to be as Sanef taking this up at the highest level.”

Below is a graphic of how to report security forces:



Meanwhile, Nthoba is in hiding after the incident.

Nthoba, who owns a community newspaper, says he was working on a story about police visibility in the area and took a photo of police patrolling the area. He says when police officers saw him taking pictures, they allegedly started to insult and beat him.

Nthoba can be heard in a cellphone recording screaming and asking police officers why they are beating him.

He says the police beat him for doing his job.

He says he feels disgruntled and has nowhere to run for help.

“I was on an assignment covering police visibility and took a picture of policemen and they started insulting me and accosted me, beat me up. I went to the police station to open a case, when I arrived there I was beaten up in front senior police officers. Currently, I’m hiding because I don’t feel safe with people with guns and badges are after me. So, they have the whole state machinery and I’m just a alone somewhere there in the rural areas. Who is there to protect me?” explains Nthoba.

In the video below, Paul Nthabo says he is in hiding fearing the police: