The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is to hold a public forum on complaints of racial prejudice against the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) and the issue of exclusive organisations.
This stems from last Friday's controversial FBJ meeting addressed by African National Congress president Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg.
"Following a complaint on the exclusion of white journalists from attending a Forum of Black Journalists' meeting ... the South African Human Rights Commission today [Monday] decided to convene a public forum in order to interrogate the issue of exclusive organisations and the complaint in question," the commission said on Monday.
Because the issues raised by the complaint were very complex, the commission believed an open forum would create both the space and enabling environment for a full and proper ventilation of the issues before it.
Both the complainant, Talk Radio 702 news editor Katy Katapodis, and the respondent, FBJ steering committee chairperosn Abbey Makoe, had indicated a willingness to attend and participate at this forum.
The event would take place on March 5 at the SAHRC head office in Parktown, Johannesburg, the commission said.
Earlier on Monday, Primedia Broadcasting group head of news and talk programming Yusuf Abramjee and Talk Radio 702/567 host Kieno Kammies also laid formal complaints of discrimination with the SAHRC.
In a letter to SAHRC chairperson Jody Kollapen, Abramjee and Kammies said they attended the FBJ meeting on Friday, and raised their objections to the fact that the meeting excluded white journalists.
This was discriminatory and went against the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
"After we walked out in solidarity with our white colleagues who were ordered out and those who were excluded, we were referred to as 'coconuts' -- 'black on the outside and white on the inside'."
A report by Chris Bathembu in the Citizen newspaper on Monday confirmed this. He was in the meeting.
This was also reported in the Rapport newspaper on Sunday.
"We are told that Jon Qwelane was one of the people who used this term," they wrote.
"We are of the view that the term 'coconut' is not only insulting, but discriminatory.
"It was clearly used in a racial context and this is totally unacceptable and is meant to demean.
"We hereby lodge a formal complaint with the SAHRC and we will appreciate it if the commission can investigate this matter and make a finding as part of its investigation into the FBJ meeting and the complaint lodged by our colleague, Katy Katopodis," the two said.
full story from M&G here