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'The Donald Trump of SA': Duarte under spotlight after 'attack' on reporter

During a briefing with reporters at Luthuli House, the ANC deputy secretary-general described eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko as arrogant.

FILE: ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has weighed in on Tuesday afternoon’s altercation between eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko and African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

The ANC’s integrity committee is set to look at the processes around candidate lists.

Duarte revealed this in a post-NEC meeting briefing earlier on Tuesday.

The move follows reports that the ANC’s candidate lists have been tampered with.

But the rest of the briefing on what the ANC’s top decision-making body had discussed was overshadowed by Duarte’s public altercation with a journalist.

During a briefing with reporters at Luthuli House, Duarte described Maseko as arrogant, saying he thought of himself as “lord of the media” instead of the mere journalist that he is.

Duarte took issue after an eNCA journalist asked a question that was not related to the prepared statement.

“You have the habit of making people feel like you are the lord of the media. You are one journalist, you work for one eNCA and you think that all of us must shiver. You call me a bully, but you are a bully. I’ve never met anyone as arrogant as you are.”

During an interview with the news channel, Sanef’s Chris Louw described Duarte’s statements as "worrying".

“To say that the questions were attack questions and that journalists make a habit of this... someone who, in her words, does not fight for freedom of expression and therefore cannot appreciate it. Those statements are really worrying.”

It’s not the first time Duarte has lost her cool with a member of the media.

In 2016, a politics reporter at the Independent Group detailed a dressing down at the hands of Duarte after a critical piece about the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Three years before, Duarte had accused the media of being corrupt amid widespread reports of friction in the tripartite alliance.

Duarte said the dispute between them was personal, and she would approach the Ombud for relief.

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People has described Duarte as “the Donald Trump of South Africa,” saying she’s bullied Maseko.

‘OFF THE RECORD’

The ANC says it will meet with eNCA and the Sanef over Tuesday afternoon’s altercation between Duarte and Maseko.

The party said Duarte was objecting what it calls “Maseko’s unacceptable and unprofessional outburst”.

Party spokesperson Dakota Legoete said Duarte was speaking to Maseko off the record.

“We’ll upload on our website the whole interaction because they took the part where Duarte appeared, and that's the last part of the ANC interview.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)