The ANC has called on news channel eNCA to send an unconditional apology to all South Africans for the “pain and hurt” caused by its reporter, Lindsay Dentlinger, following her allegedly racial conduct in applying Covid-19 protocols during a recent live broadcast at Parliament.
The ANC, led by its deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, on Tuesday picketed outside eNCA’s headquarters in Johannesburg against racism.
Duarte criticised eNCA for its statement last week in which it said Dentlinger’s conduct “was not racially motivated or with malicious intent”. She said the statement was careless and called on the broadcaster to teach its journalists how to treat people with dignity and respect.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are black or white, if you express yourself in racist terms you are offensive to the people of South Africa,” Duarte said.
“We have suffered for many years and we don’t need to repeat the latent attitudes that come from people who haven’t been taught how not to be racist, how to treat people as equals and how to treat people with basic decency and respect.”
Last week, eNCA faced a backlash after Dentlinger asked UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa to wear a mask during an interview on the 2021 Budget Speech, while FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald was interviewed without a mask.
This saw several news clips circulated online showing the reporter asking other black politicians to put on their masks, right after speaking to white politicians without masks.
— thabang350 (@Thabang_350) February 24, 2021
Dentlinger has since apologised and the channel said it was yet to conclude its investigation.
Duarte called on eNCA to demonstrate genuine remorse and deal decisively with racism within the company.
“People who are journalists are the people who influence the minds of people and they must work on a higher level of discipline and adherence to the Constitution,” she said.
ANC memorandum of demands
In its memorandum of demands to eNCA management, the ANC called on the station to withdraw its statement defending and to send its journalists and management for human rights training to learn the values of equality and non-racialism.
The governing party wants eNCA to publicly acknowledge its “history of mistreating its black journalists, some of whom have been forced out by the racially intolerable conditions at eNCA”.
It also demanded the channel issues “an unambiguous commitment that it will no longer tolerate racism within its ranks and to do something practical that will demonstrate genuine remorse on its part.”
Lastly, the ANC called on the leadership and journalists of eNCA to “engage in a process of thorough soul searching and to confront their own racism and racial prejudice”.
Read the ANC’s memorandum of demands to eNCA below:
— African National Congress (@MYANC) March 2, 2021