Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency responsible for women, Bathabile Dlamini, has denied allegations that she banned private broadcaster eNCA's journalists from covering the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children campaign.
eNCA says at the launch of the campaign on Sunday in Melmoth, KwaZulu Natal, Dlamini and her officials ordered its reporter Thubalihle Vilane and camera operator Bongumusa Mkhize to leave the gathering despite an interview having been prearranged.
It says Dlamini approached the broadcaster's crew and said she was offended that she was being filmed. Thereafter, Dlamini's chief of staff Palesa Mphamo made it expressly clear that eNCA should not enter the hall where the event was being held, the broadcaster said in a statement.
Vilane and Mkhize were allegedly told Dlamini refused to speak to eNCA and would only answer questions from public broadcaster SABC as they “know the parameters".
Dlamini denied these allegations in a statement issued by her department, saying an agreement was reached with reporters that she would speak to the SABC while the provincial member of the executive committee for social development, Weziwe Thusi, would to talk to eNCA "due to time limits".
"The Minister has come to learn of allegations that there was an exchange between officials from her office and eNCA reporters," the statement said.
"A claim is being made by the eNCA that an official of the ministry asked them to leave. It must be categorically stated that minister Dlamini did not ask any reporter to leave the event or ban any reporter from attending the event."
"The minister wishes to clearly state that she will never instruct any reporter or journalist to leave any venue especially when it is an event of government," it added, saying Dlamini had has instituted a process to establish the facts of what transpired.
Caxton professor of journalism at Wits University Anton Harber has called on the media not to cover Dlamini until she reverses her ban on eNCA.
African News Agency/ANA