South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has pulled her gloves off after she was widely slammed for performing so low and giving bizarre answers to many questions during a recent interview with Al Jazeera.
The minister became the butt of many jokes after the interview went viral. During the controversial interview which held at the global news network’s studios in Doha, Qatar, Nkoana-Mashabane strangely stated that ‘she had a hole in her head’.
However, after the interview, she was heavily criticized but the minister maintains she was pushed so hard by Jane Dutton, a South African-born journalist, who instantly “became a South African in opposition rather than a journalist”.
Secondly, she suggested Dutton was not qualified to ask her questions because, she doesn’t know what it means to be a black woman – hence, she lacks experience.
Nkoana-Mashabane also alleged that Dutton and the network deviated from the agreed focus of the interview by asking her “derogatory questions” about President Jacob Zuma.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane Slams Al-Jazeera Journalist
Speaking at OR Tambo House in Pretoria, the minister expressed deep disappointment because Dutton failed to bring on ‘good’ questions about the Middle East and South Africa, ‘she went off the track’.
“Instead of it being a good interview, about the Middle East and South Africa she asked nothing about Qatar. Zero. The reality is that she [Dutton] is a South African who happened to have been an anchor for Al Jazeera and she really took the gloves off and became a South African in opposition rather than a journalist,” the minister replied.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane fired on, stating that the combative interviewer behaved like someone who was ignorant about the past of black South Africans.
“We were on a state visit with the president and I was informed that the interview would be about our visit to Qatar, and about our priorities for the visit. But nothing we had been prepared to talk about was forthcoming,” she said.
The international Relations minister further argued that she is a diplomat and has the responsibility of defending the country, when asked why she spent so much time speaking about herself rather than about foreign affairs issues
“I am a diplomat and one of the responsibilities is to defend your country. So when I was asked questions such as when is the president resigning, I was like: ‘How do I go all the way to Qatar to talk about the resignation of a leader?.
I think, as a journalist, [Dutton] could have been more professional and asked questions in a professional manner. She interjected all the time and I kept asking her to allow me to finish my answers, she said.
Summarizing her assertions, Nkoana-Mashabane contended thus: “I am very sweet if you want me to be sweet. If you fight, you will also find the activist in me.”
Meanwhile, Dutton has denied being combative during the interview. “If anything, I was soft on the minister, giving her a platform to my very broad questions around current affairs in South Africa. Nothing I asked could be described as tricky or unexpected,” she said.
In addition, the South African journalist opined that as a high-profile minister who represents the country on the international stage, Nkoana-Mashabane should have been prepared for any line of questioning.