South Africa | eNCA mask scandal: BCCSA receives 46 complaints, only 11 meet the criteria

 (Photo: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

(Photo: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has received 46 complaints, following a furore involving eNCA journalist, Lindsay Dentlinger, who was accused of being racist.

However, only 11 of the complaints met the necessary criteria, BCCSA registrar Shouneez Martin told News24 on Wednesday.

The BCCSA, which is an independent judicial tribunal established by the National Association of Broadcasters in 1993, could not comment further on the matter.

Dentlinger sparked outrage and was accused of being a racist after clips emerged of her conducting interviews during the budget speech.

She spoke to FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald while he wasn't wearing a mask and when she turned to UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, she asked him to keep on his mask, News24 previously reported.

In addition, a montage was shared on social media which included Dentlinger interviewing DA leader John Steenhuisen while he wasn't wearing a mask and an interview she had with the IFP's Mkhuleko Hlengwa in which she advised him to keep on his mask.

In a separate incident, she can be seen asking politician Bongani Bongo to keep on his mask in line with Covid-19 protocols.

Dentlinger said the recordings in the montage, which went viral on social media, were made between October 2020 and last week, at different locations, News24 previously reported.

The eNCA journalist disputed the racism claims but acknowledged the outrage and apologised.

READ | 'I totally acknowledge the outrage' - eNCA journalist apologises for 'disrespect' after claims of racism

"I totally acknowledge the outrage and I apologise for the disrespect it has caused to people who don't deserve to be drawn into this," she said.

The channel also came out in defence of its reporter, saying that her "alleged inconsistent behaviour" to Covid-19 protocols during a live interview "was not racially motivated or with malicious intent".

"eNCA understands how an excerpt of Dentlinger's coverage could have created a space for general public conjecture. However, eNCA management, after meeting with Dentlinger to discuss the matter, concluded that her conduct was not racially motivated or with malicious intent," the channel said in a statement.

ALSO READ | eNCA says Lindsay Dentlinger's failure to ask interviewee to don a mask was not racist

The UDM's Bantu Holomisa and Kwankwa were expected to meet the channel's managing editor, John Bailey, and MD Norman Munzhelele on Wednesday.

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