Newzroom Afrika journalist, Ziniko Mhlaba, has been released after being detained while covering the Local Government Elections in Orlando, Soweto, on Monday.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), the incident has since been escalated to the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng who ordered both the release of the journalist and an investigation into the matter.
“Police were forced to remove a television journalist and a cameraman from a polling station in Orlando East, Soweto, after they allegedly interfered with the work of the presiding officer at that station,” SAPS explained.
The police have since described the matter as an “unfortunate” situation that resulted in a “confrontation” between police and the journalist.
“Our reporter @zinikozini has been released after being unlawfully detained at a voting station this morning. As a business, we are taking this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” Newzroom Afrika Director, Thabile Ngwato, tweeted.
Amnesty International has since spoken out against the “harassment” of Mhlaba.
“We are concerned by the reported arrest of a Newzroom Afrika journalist at a voting station. Journalists must be allowed to report on the elections without intimidation or harassment.”
The global movement has since called on the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to investigate the incident.
“It was reported that citizens filming the incident were allegedly manhandled by the SAPS. This heavy handling and obstruction of journalists is a violation of their rights and it must cease immediately.”