The decision not to meet Sanef came as a surprise as EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi reportedly confirmed on radio and national television that the party was prepared to meet the forum.
Malema had tweeted that he was prepared to meet on condition that Sanef did not bring what he described as a “racist” white young boy called Adriaan Basson, said Sanef.
Basson serves as the treasurer of the forum and would have been a part of the delegation to meet the EFF.
The forum has indicated that it would seek advice on options available to it to protect journalists from bullying and intimidation tactics by politicians.
“Our council meeting resolved that journalists should feel free to leave press conferences or rallies by political parties if they feel under threat or intimidated,” said the forum.
“While we acknowledge Malema’s right to criticise the media, we remain gravely concerned about the threats and intimidation of individual journalists – often women – who report critically on the EFF, and the chilling effect this may have in newsrooms. A meeting with the EFF leadership was the first step in Sanef’s response to these threats and we believed it was absolutely essential before the elections,” Sanef said.
Sanef has also condemned the EFF’s decision to ban Sunday Times reporters from its events.
The forum quoted the 2017 UN General Assembly resolution where member states, including South Africa, collectively condemned “all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation, threats and harassment, including through attacks on, or the forced closure of, their offices and media outlets, in both conflict and non-conflict situations”.