ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte’s press briefing – meant to address the saga involving party secretary General Ace Magashule and the allegations made in investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture – degenerated into a furious verbal attack on an eNCA journalist.
During the media briefing at Luthuli House, Duarte took particular exception to the line of questioning from eNCA senior political journalist Samkele Maseko.
Maseko took a hard line regarding the allegations that had been made against Magashule.
Although the briefing was in part meant to address candidates on the ANC Parliamentary list, Duarte accused the reporter of digressing from the point of the media briefing, calling his inquiries “irrelevant”.
As he argued his point, Duarte became visibly irate and resorted to dressing down Maseko, calling him a “bully”.
“I am going to complain about you to the press ombudsman” said Duarte, who added “this is what you do … Mr Samkele you have a habit of intimidating everybody, you have a habit of making people feel like you are the lord of the media, you are one journalist and work for one eNCA and you think that all of us must shiver.
“You call me a bully but you are the worst bully I have ever come across. I have never met anyone arrogantly disposed as you and yet you say you want to defend freedom of speech that you never fought for,” said Duarte.
The deputy secretary-general then went on to accuse the eNCA of being biased leading up the 2016 municipal elections.
“In 2016 the eNCA followed the DA slogan ‘Vote for Change’ so what do you want us to do? To bow and stand every time you walk into a room? And call you my lord, the lord of the media. You’re just a journalist like I am just a citizen,” continued Duarte.
The Congress of the People (Cope) has strongly condemned Duarte’s actions, calling her “the Donald Trump of South Africa” for the manner in which she conducted herself.
“The uncalled-for verbal attack ... must be condemned. Jessie Duarte is behaving the same way as Donald Trump by trying to bully Samkele. It is unfortunate that the public that she was trying to brief, has lost out on the information because of her emotional attack on a journalist,” said Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem.
“Cope is not surprised by these verbal attacks because this follows hot on the heels of what Magashule and general secretary of the SACP Blade Nzimande said last week about taking control of the SABC.”