The SA Human Rights Commission has opened an investigation into the conduct of eNCA reporter Lindsay Dentlinger while interviewing politicians at this year’s budget presentation.
This follows various complaints, including from UDM’s Bantu Holomisa, said the commission.
“The grievances allege that Ms Dentlinger treated interviewees differently on the basis of their race, in interviews conducted outside parliament during the budget speech on 24 February 2020.
“The commission is investigating the matter, and has requested to meet with eNCA and Ms Dentlinger on the allegations.”
The controversy stems from a viral video showing her asking UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa to wear a mask while FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald was interviewed mask-less.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte led protesters who gathered outside eNCA’s offices on Tuesday. Former ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane were also present. The ruling party handed over a memorandum and gave eNCA seven days to respond.
The demands include that the broadcaster withdraw its statement in which it defended the journalist, publicly acknowledge its “history of mistreating black people” and commits to training its journalists and management on human rights.
During an interview with JJ Tabane on eNCA on Monday night, Dentlinger said the viral clips were from October last year to Wednesday last week.
She denied that she refused to speak to black people who were not wearing masks.
She said company policy compels reporters to ask interviewees to wear masks, but claimed she forgot to ask this when she spotted Groenewald, who was her first interviewee after the budget speech. She apologised for this.
Dentlinger said under normal circumstances, she would have a producer with her who ensures that guests are ready for interviews, but this was not the case due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“People don’t want to hear it was an oversight for me not to ask Groenewald to wear a mask. He was my first interviewee. Things are working differently in this time of Covid-19.”
She said she was reminded when she saw Kwankwa wearing his mask to ask him to keep it on during the interview.