The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, requesting that an urgent inquiry be instituted against 24-hour news broadcaster, eNCA, and the organisation’s political reporter, Lindsay Dentlinger.
The party is accusing Dentlinger of practising anti-Black racism against Members of Parliament on national TV, within the Parliamentary precinct.
“The ENCA racism event followed the sitting of the National Assembly on 24 February to hear the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance. After the sitting, eNCA, live on Television, through its journalists Lindsay Dentlinger, racially discriminated against Black MPs, demanding them to wear masks, whilst it allowed White MPs to speak on their platform without wearing masks,” says the party.
The EFF says Dentlinger has violated Section 9.4 of the country’s Constitution, saying her actions are a direct assault on the right to equity as delineated in that section.
The party wants Parliament to fine or ban Dentlinger from the parliamentary precinct. It also wants her employer either removed, fined or banned from the precinct for defending her actions after it said Dentlinger’s actions were not racially motivated nor had malicious intent.
“In essence, the eNCA abused MPs on our precinct and has refused to acknowledge this harm, despite calls by the general public to do so. In the name of the constitution, parliament and the people of South Africa the Speaker must not allow racism to occur with impunity,” it says.
UDM Youth abhorred
UDM MP, Nqobizitha Kwankwa, was one of the MPs Dentlinger asked to put up their masks.
The organisation’s youth wing says it was abhorred by the incident.
“It is disrespectful and arrogant of eNCA to find excuses to justify behaviour that continuously leaves the nation wounded. The South African Human Rights Commission, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa, the South African National Editors’ Forum and Parliament must act and should they fail to hold eNCA accountable, it would result in South Africans losing faith in them,” says the UDM Youth Vanguard.
On Friday, civil rights organisation, #NotInMyNameInternational, picketed outside the eNCA headquarters in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
They demanded that Dentlinger be fired or suspended.
The group left after a meeting with the company’s management, who said they were probing the matter.
— #NOTINMYNAME INTERNATIONAL (@NotInMyNameINT) February 26, 2021
It is not the first time the media organisation is facing backlash over perceived racism at the company. Among others, in 2016, workers revolted over the company’s policy, which did not allow journalists to wear doeks on air. The policy has since been reversed.
Genuine transformation of media can only happen with media workers leading from the front, playing a constructive role in forcing management to account for their actions. Media workers should not participate in PR in order to cleanse the organisation of its sins.
— Phakamile Hlubi-Majola (@phakxx) February 26, 2021