Mr John Bailey
Managing Editor: eNews Channel Africa
Private Bag X9944
Dear Mr Bailey
Is eNCA serious about its message of non-racialism?
1. Yesterday, on the steps of Parliament, eNCA’s journalist Ms Lindsay Detlinger asked the United Democratic Movement’s Deputy President, Mr Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, MP to replace his mask after he had removed it to be interviewed after the delivery of the 2021 Budget.
2. This in itself was not the problem as we are dealing with Covid-19, but what was, is that Dr Pieter Groenewald, MP and Parliamentary Leader of the Freedom Front Plus, who was interviewed just ahead of him, was not made to wear his mask.
3. This appalling incident happened on a live eNCA broadcast for the world to see. The message was not lost… white South Africans are “Covid-safe” and black South Africans are not.
4. In seconds, social media went alight at this blatant racism, not only displayed by an eNCA journalist, but also by eNCA itself.
5. Worse still is that, as the might of social media has shown, there is a pattern of this behaviour by eNCA, as evidenced by this video posted by Facebooker, Sakina Kamwendo and this Tweeter
It was not a mistake. pic.twitter.com/kbYtU7299h
— Naledi Chirwa (@NalediChirwa) February 25, 2021
6. The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is perturbed by eNCA’s and Ms Detlinger’s blatant insult not only to the person of our Deputy President, but also by this culture of thoughtless racism.
7. Like it or not, eNCA has in the past been criticised for showing a racial bias and this recent incident has cemented this perception. The mere fact that eNCA has been mum regarding the incident, since yesterday, seems to mean that eNCA is happy with its reputation.
8. The only reason why we have waited until now to address this matter with you, is that we had hoped that eNCA and/or Ms Detlinger would by now have done the right thing and have apologised, but our hope was clearly misplaced.
9. The UDM has in the past had problems with the way that eNCA has treated us. For instance, during the 2019 National and Provincial Election, we were relegated to eNCA’s broadcast wastelands and this recent incident felt reminiscent of those days.
10. eNCA has the responsibility to uphold journalistic standards and integrity, as well as the code of conduct for broadcasters and it has fallen short in this instance. It should hold itself accountable.
11. Ms Detlinger and eNCA owes Mr Kwankwa, the UDM and all past eNCA interviewees of colour an unequivocal and sincere apology, as well as an undertaking that this practice will stop effective immediately.
12. We would like to thank all South Africans who stood in solidarity against this barefaced act of racism.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement