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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected what it calls “the delayed lukewarm Eyewitness News apology,” after senior EWN reporter Barry Bateman was caught on camera swearing at party leader Julius Malema.
Bateman was among a group of journalists interviewing Malema outside the Hawks’ office Tuesday. The EFF leader was summoned to respond to allegations that he discharged firearm during the party’s 5th birthday celebrations in the Eastern Cape last year.
“A white, big white Afrikaner male, stopping me from burying Winnie Mandela? I had to be next to the coffin and no white man was going to stop me from burying Winnie,” Malema said in response to an altercation with a security official at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.
Bateman then asked if Malema had insulted the police officer. Malema responded: “I wish I assaulted him. I wish I did a real thing – proper. I regret not doing it. I should have done it so that I deal with real stuff. Me, I’m not scared, boet. Uniform or no uniform. Afrikaner or no Afrikaner. White or pink, I will deal with you decisively.”
Malema then walked away and video footage showed Bateman shaking his head and mouthing what appeared to be “f***ing p**s.“
Eyewitness News moved to stem the fallout by “unreservedly apologising to the Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema for the foul language used by its reporter.”
EWN said Bateman was immediately ordered off air after they became aware of the video.
An internal probe to investigate the matter is underway.
The EFF said, “EWN must take concomitant action. Had it been a black journalist who would have insulted a white party leader, he would be under suspension with immediate effect. Bateman must be dealt with the same way and not be accorded the white privilege of kids’ gloves.”