Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa) says it will lay criminal charges against the Black First Land (BLF) after some members stormed one of its branches at Gandhi Square in Johannesburg CBD.
Absa says it has evidence via a video footage and photos of Thursday’s incident in which supporters of the BLF stormed the building leaving a customer injured.
According to reports, the bank was granted an urgent court order against BLF after its members embarked on a campaign against the Absa.
Absa’s spokesperson Songzo Zibi says employees were traumatized by the threat of violence. “Customers were affected. One customer was injured and the staffs were quite traumatised because it’s not just an attempt to do so, it’s the threat of violence if they do not shut down the branch.”
In the meantime, BLF leader Andile Mngxithama says the verdict made by the High Court it would hand down its verdict on Friday in a media freedom case which makes no difference.
This comes after the South African Editor’s Forum (Sanef) submitted documents to the High Court against BLF in a bid to stop its members from threatening and harassing journalists.
The ruling over the matter will be handed down on Friday, while Mngxithama says the judge will not rule in the BLF’s favor because he’s white
“Will this judge come back tomorrow and be fair to us? When have white people been fair to black people?”
Last week, the group protested outside Tiso Blackstar Editor Peter Bruce’s home and painted the words “land or death” on his garage door.
Last week chaos broke out after a group of people demonstrated outside Tiso Blackstar Editor Peter Bruce’s home after he wrote an opinion piece in Business Day‚ in which he wrote that he was targeted by the Gupta family for writing critical articles about them.
Sanef chair Mahlatsi Gallens says everyone has a duty to uphold the law.
“That is quite disappointing because what keeps us as a nation is upholding the rule of law. If we have the BLF saying they are not going to respect the courts, then that’s where we need to see police taking action.”
Gallens says that threats against journalists must stop.
“We stand firm that media freedom is part and parcel of strengthening our democracy and journalists should have the right to do their work freely, without fear and without favor.”