The African National Congress National Youth Task Team (ANC NYTT) has criticised TV news channel eNCA for making “disparaging commentary” about Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The commentary was made by presenters Xoli Mngambi and Jane Dutton while introducing their news show on Monday morning.
They took a swipe at Dlamini-Zuma for announcing the National Command Council’s (NCC) decision to maintain the ban on cigarette sales during level 4 lockdown. This was a reversal from what President Cyril Ramaphosa had told the nation just days before.
Suggesting that Dlamini-Zuma had taken the decision unilaterally, they said, “Cyril Ramaphosa has been publicly emasculated. We, the public, have been duped. How can you discard what the President has said just because 2,000 people were against it?”
However, the NYTT said eNCA‘s commentary sought to “isolate” Dlamini-Zuma from the collective of government and “legitimise their imaginary divisions” in the ANC.
It said, “We are particularly annoyed at the fact that eNCA does this deliberately, because such a well-established media house ought to know that no single Minister is capable of taking government decisions alone. We are going to officially lay a complaint with BCCSA for this unethical conduct this week.
“It is such amongst many other instances that we are convinced that eNCA is a frontier for the advancement of certain societal narratives and politics. This news channel is centred on white supremacy and its hegemony using black talent.”
‘Stop behaving like CNN or ANN7’
The NYTT also called on ANC Youth League members and the public at large to boycott eNCA, which it labeled as a “propagandist channel.”
It added, “We urge eNCA to renege from behaving like a CNN of South Africa or the erstwhile ANN7. It can’t be that this news channel is not ashamed of being embedded and disregarding journalist ethics.”
American TV news channel CNN has often been accused of being openly partisan in its approach, while the now-defunct ANN7 was associated with former President Jacob Zuma and the infamous Gupta family.
Meanwhile, Mngambi and Dutton have since apologised for the commentary, terming it an “unfortunate judgement call.”
In their news introduction on Tuesday morning, they said, “Singling [Dlamini-Zuma] out on the decision as if it were her own was unfair and unwarranted, especially after President Cyril Ramaphosa had provided clarity on the matter.
“As is [the] practice here at eNCA, we as news anchors are allowed to make commentary on any matter of national importance and this is done purely to encourage debate. It’s not done out of malice or to personalise attacks on a particular leader.”
In his weekly newsletter to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa made it clear that all NCC decisions are taken collectively.
He said, “This was a collective decision and the public statements by both myself and the Minister were done on behalf of, and mandated by, the collective I lead.”