Lindsay Dentlinger views Covid-19 as a black person’s disease - Jessie Duarte
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Johannesburg - The eNCA reporter accused of being a racist has apologised for the mask incident, however, that did not stop ANC members across the country picketed against racism outside her employer’s offices.
Lindsay Dentlinger has been at the centre of outrage across the nation following an incident during the coverage of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 2021 Budget speech.
The reporter was accused of being a racist for her alleged inconsistent behaviour when applying Covid-19 protocols to interviewees during a live broadcast and other incidents of alleged racism.
Following the incident, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that he accepted Dentlinger’s apology and that the two of them would meet. However, he said he would not be giving eNCA or e.tv interviews until he held a meeting with their management.
The United Democratic Movement has approached the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for relief on behalf of its deputy president, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, in relation to his treatment at the hands of eNCA, Dentlinger and its production team.
ANC members across the country picketed outside eNCA offices, SAHRC offices and at centres against “the scourge of racism”.
At the eNCA head office in Hyde Park, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and ANC national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane led a picket, where Duarte said the ANC was “extremely disappointed” by the broadcaster’s response to the incident.
The eNCA management defended Dentlinger in a statement last week, saying she was a seasoned journalist with over 21 years of experience.
“eNCA management, after meeting with Dentlinger to discuss the matter, concluded that her conduct was not racially motivated or with malicious intent,” the statement said.
Duarte said the broadcaster’s response showed that journalists within the organisation viewed coronavirus as a “black person’s disease”.
She added that the ANC supporters were not at the head office to fight the broadcaster but to urge eNCA to transform its views on racism. She called on eNCA management to withdraw its “offensive” statement.
“eNCA is to send an unconditional apology to all South Africans for the pain and hurt that Dentlinger and eNCA have caused. eNCA must send its journalists and management for human rights training to learn the values of equality and non-racialism,” she said.
She also called on the media company to publicly acknowledge its history of allegedly mistreating its black journalists. “The leadership and journalists of eNCA are to engage in a process of thorough soul-searching, and to confront their own racism and racial prejudice,” Duarte said.
eNCA managing director Norman Munzhelele accepted the picketers’ memorandum of demands and said that eNCA committed itself to contribute to building a non-racial, non-sexist, united and democratic South Africa.
“We will do everything possible within our powers to ensure that we transform and to ensure that our journalists and management are aware of racial issues in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, on Monday evening Dentlinger apologised for the incident during an interview on the channel’s Power to Truth with JJ Tabane.
“I felt awful from how this is perceived and what the country believes to be a true reflection of who I am as a journalist. I do acknowledge how it is portrayed. I am being portrayed as not speaking to any black unless he is wearing a mask,” Dentlinger said.
She further defended herself and said that she was not acting in a racist manner during the incident.
“My error is that I crumbled in the moment and did not remember to tell everyone to wear a mask,” she said.