DA to lay charges against ANC, EFF for race baiting in Lindsay Dentlinger mask saga

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Members of the ANC in the Western Cape protest outside eNCA's Cape Town office. (Supplied)
Members of the ANC in the Western Cape protest outside eNCA's Cape Town office. (Supplied)
  • The DA said it intended laying complaints with the SAHRC against the ANC and EFF for "race baiting".
  • According to the DA, these complaints came about because of the parties' reactions to eNCA reporter Lindsay Dentlinger's mask saga.
  • Dentlinger was recorded asking a black politician to put on his mask while she interviewed him, while allegedly not doing the same with a white politician. 

The DA has announced it would be laying a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission against the ANC and EFF for race baiting in relation to the reaction around eNCA reporter Lindsay Dentlinger's mask saga.

Dentlinger came under fire and was accused of racism after video clips emerged of her conducting interviews outside of Parliament during the Budget speech.

News24 previously reported she had interviewed FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald while he was not wearing a mask and when she turned to UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, she asked him to keep on his mask.

Dentlinger has since denied the claims and her employer, eNCA, said the inconsistent behaviour regarding Covid-19 protocols during live interviews was not racially motivated.

Following the emergence of the video clips, the ANC and several civil organisations have protested, while the EFF has spoken out against her actions.

READ | FACT CHECK | eNCA's Lindsay Dentlinger: We analysed the video that caused racist outcry - and 24 other interviews

In a statement on Friday, the DA's Natasha Mazzone said it would be approaching the commission to lay a complaint after the clips of Dentlinger had been debunked.

"The ANC launched an anti-racism campaign as well as a protest led by ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, effectively calling Dentlinger a racist without reviewing the evidence. The party further fuelled tensions by claiming the channel had a 'history of mistreating black people'," Mazzone added.

"The EFF likewise called for a total boycott of the news channel, labelling them as a propaganda arm of 'white monopoly capital' - a narrative the EFF constantly perpetuates when it suits them to score political points.

"It has now emerged that parts of the video came from much older interviews - some of which were conducted before the pandemic or before wearing masks were mandated.

"This explains fully why some MPs were not wearing masks during some interviews, while others were asked to do so. Earlier clips were used selectively in the montage to purport that white MPs were not asked to wear masks while black MPs were," she added.

Mazzone said the ANC and EFF pounced on the opportunity to use the video as a ploy to further exploit racial tensions among South Africans.

READ | SA Human Rights Commission to investigate eNCA's Lindsay Dentlinger over racism claims

She added this was tantamount to race baiting to rile up particular audiences which was dangerous, especially when the assumptions are made without evidence.

"Both the ANC and EFF have intentionally fed into this narrative to stir up tensions and play a very dangerous game - a game they have been playing for years without shame.

"The DA unequivocally believes that racism and discrimination should be condemned without fear or favour. However, the race baiting by the ANC and EFF has no place within South Africa's democratic society."

Meanwhile, the commission said it would investigate the incident after complaints were received against Dentlinger.

"The grievances allege that Dentlinger treated interviewees differently on the basis of their race in interviews conducted outside Parliament during the Budget speech on 24 February 2020," it added in a statement.

News24 reported following the incident, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) had received 46 complaints.

However, only 11 of the complaints met the necessary criteria, BCCSA registrar Shouneez Martin said.

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