Date: Nov 1, 2021 Type: Country:

South Africa: IEC must investigate reports of journalist’s arrest and manhandling of citizens on voting day

Amnesty International South Africa is calling  on the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to investigate the reported arrest of a journalist at  a voting station in Soweto .

Newzroom Afrika reported on Monday that its journalist Ziniko Mhlaba was arrested at a voting station in Orlando East, Soweto on Monday while covering the local government elections. There were also concerning reports that citizens filming the incident were manhandled by police.

“We are concerned that a journalist was arrested while trying to do his job. Journalists must be allowed to report on elections and voting, within the parameters of the law, without hindrance and abuse,” Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed said.

“It is also unacceptable that citizens, who were filming the incident on their cellphones, were reportedly manhandled by the police. This is in violation of their rights. The IEC must investigate the matter.”

Background

Ziniko Mhlaba told Newzroom Afrika that he was told by police that he was being arrested because he was “allegedly obstructing justice", he asked for an explanation and said he was there reporting and showed the police his accreditation. He was taken to Soweto Police station for processing. He has since been released.

South Africa is holding its local government elections on 1 November 2021.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Genevieve Quintal, Media and Communications Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 (0)64 890 9224; genevieve.quintal@amnesty.org.za