eNCA’s statement, “eNCA Responds to the ‘Pieter Groenewald’ Mask Issue” is a slap in the face of any sober South African who witnessed the incident where eNCA journalist Lindsay Dentlinger asked United Democratic Movement (UDM) Deputy President Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, MP to wear his mask after he had removed it to be interviewed, just after having interviewed a maskless Dr Pieter Groenewald, MP of the Freedom Front Plus, after the delivery of the 2021 Budget on Wednesday, 24 February 2021.
The UDM wrote to eNCA Managing Editor John Bayley, on 25 February 2021, expressing our disgust at the racist treatment Mr Kwankwa had suffered at eNCA’s hands and instead of issuing an unreserved apology, eNCA chose to defend their and their journalist’s actions with insipid excuses.
Even the title of their statement is confounding, as it negates the crux of the matter, that the aggrieved party is in fact Mr Kwankwa who was treated differently to his white colleague. It adds further insult to injury that eNCA does not even have the courtesy to acknowledge Mr Kwankwa.
The sheer, blinding arrogance in the face of what is clearly eNCA’s failing, is staggering.
Whether or not eNCA or Ms Dentlinger likes to hear it, they have gravely insulted and offended Mr Kwankwa, the UDM and countless black and white South Africans who had noticed this racist incident.
eNCA Managing Director, Mr Norman Munzhelele, and Mr John Bailey’s explanations of what journalists contend with, in eNCA’s statement, to excuse what had happened are feeble and unacceptable. This was not an isolated incident.
The UDM will not let the matter rest and will make the necessary steps to approach the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa and the South African Human Rights Commission for relief.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP