Minister of Women, Bathabile Dlamini, denied banning eNCA from the 16 days of activism campaign launch.
In a statement released on Sunday evening, she said an investigation will be launched into the incident.
On Sunday eNCA reporter Thubalihle Vilane and camera operator, Bongumusa Mkhize were filming the minister’s arrival in KwaMagwaza, KwaZulu Natal, when Dlamini and her officials ordered them to leave the gathering.
This was despite the fact that an interview had been agreed to.
The minister approached the eNCA crew and said she was offended that she was being filmed.
Thereafter her Chief of Staff Palesa Mphamo made it expressly clear that eNCA should not enter the hall where the event was being held.
Vilane and Mkhize were told the minister refused to speak to eNCA and would only answer questions from the SABC as they “know the parameters”.
Dlamini says due to time constraints, she only agreed to an interview with the SABC and requested the KZN Social Development MEC to speak to eNCA.
The minister says she was not part of any further engagements with journalists after the interviews and did not ask the eNCA team to leave.
“The minister wishes to clearly state that she will never instruct any reporter or journalist to leave any venue, especially when it is an event of government. The portfolio the minister is responsible for relies mainly on various media platforms to communicate and convey its key messages to the public.”
She says she’s aware of allegations of an exchange between her officials and the eNCA team.
eNCA’s Editor-at-large, Jeremy Maggs believes Dlamini wanted to avoid facing tough questions from our journalists.
“We are very disturbed by this turn of events. To ban the media from covering very critical issues like this is certainly not what this democracy is about.”
Meanwhile, Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University, Anton Harber, is calling on the media to deny coverage to Dlamini until she reverses her ban on eNCA.
“It seems to me we are facing a series of verbal and other abuses of journalists doing their work and this is a threat to not just the individuals involved, but to allowing us to play the role we are supposed to play on behalf of the public in holding politicians and officials to account”.