The Times journalist manhandled by 'policeman' while Zuma attends Gupta event
A journalist from The Times‚ covering President Jacob Zuma’s attendance at a religious event arranged by the Gupta family‚ was manhandled‚ had her phone confiscated and its contents deleted on Thursday evening.
Katharine Child said security guards allowed her into the premises of the Military Museum in Saxonwold but she was turned away at the venue’s entrance.
A man in plain clothes‚ who said he was a policeman and told her his name was Morne‚ told her to leave when she identified herself as a journalist. She queried this and he then grabbed her phone.
"He told me to go. He put his arm around my neck and pushed me and then I said I’m not leaving until you give me my phone back‚" said Child.
He had threatened to arrest her and at one point motioned to the hand cuffs tied to his trousers. The man had then phoned someone and told them that she had taken photographs of the event on her phone.
"I did not take any pictures because it was dark. But he deleted everything from my phone - all my apps‚ all my photos‚ all my phone numbers."
He then returned the phone to her but security refused to let her back into the premises so that she could get to her car. "He told me to get out the way because the presidential motorcade is leaving‚" she said.
The Times editor Andrew Trench said: “The treatment of our journalist is despicable bullying and is contrary to the police’s own Standing Order 156 which prevents the police from stopping a journalist taking pictures or any visual recording.
“The standing order is clear that under no circumstances may a journalist be verbally or physically assaulted nor their recordings damaged. Their equipment cannot be seized unless to be used as an exhibit. We will be laying criminal charges”.