TV news channel eNCA has parted ways with its director of news Kanthan Pillay “with immediate effect.”
In a statement on Friday, the channel said, “This follows outrage and condemnation after a tweet he posted. The tweet does not represent the views of e-Media Investments and the channel.
“After intense overnight investigation and consultation, the channel decided it had no alternative but to end its relationship with him.”
‘No room for any other outcome’
eNCA added, “Although he was acting in an individual capacity and his posting was unsolicited, he was nonetheless a senior member of staff and the channel believes there was no room for any other outcome and that damage control was imperative.”
eNCA said it takes allegations of censorship against Pillay “very seriously” and is cooperating the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) about the matter. It will also appoint “an external expert” to investigate.
Jeremy Maggs, eNCA‘s editor-in-chief, said, “All news organisations have one currency and that is credibility. It is clear this negative attention has adversely affected eNCA’s reputation and credibility.
“However with the talented and dedicated staff we have I believe the channel can recover. Right now our immediate priorities are to mend strained relationships and to rebuild credibility with its audience and other stakeholders as soon as possible.”
Khayelihle Khumalo’s suspension lifted
eNCA has also lifted the suspension of journalist Khayelihle Khumalo, according to several journalists working for the channel.
Khumalo also confirmed the development, “Suspension is lifted and Kanthan Pillay is gone. Rats are delighted. What a journey.”
Pillay had suspended Khumalo for tweeting about Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) National People’s Assembly after eNCA withdrew its coverage.
On the same day political reporter Samkele Maseko announced his abrupt departure from eNCA, Pillay tweeted, “Rats swimming towards a sinking ship. #EarlyXmasGift.” He later apologised for the tweet.
Maseko later said Pillay had refused to allow him to serve a 30-day notice period upon handing in his resignation letter.
He further accused him of censorship in the newsroom and throwing him out of the eNCA building “like a dog.”
Several eNCA journalists celebrated news of Pillay’s suspension and welcomed Khumalo back. Thembekile Mrototo wrote, “Kanthan Pillay is officially gone from eNCA. Good riddance!”
Xoli Mngambi added, “On @KhayaJames, after strong demands from staff to news management, his suspension has been lifted. Welcome back Khaya.”