Samkele Maseko rejects Kanthan Pillay’s apology as eNCA journalists take stand

Image credit: Facebook/Samkele Maseko

Political reporter Samkele Maseko has rejected eNCA senior manager Kanthan Pillay’s apology.

In tweets posted on Friday, Maseko said, “I note and reject Mr Kanthan Pillay’s apology. We can no longer accept apologies for racial and corporate abuse.

“It would be inhumane of me to accept an apology while another black child still faces the abuse of power by the same man.”

Khayelihle Khumalo’s suspension

Maseko was referring to the plight of his former colleague at eNCA Khayelihle Khumalo, who is still under suspension for tweeting about the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) National People’s Assembly (NPA) after eNCA withdrew its coverage.

Pillay issued a formal apology on Thursday to Maseko, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), e-Media Investments and the public for his now-infamous “rats” tweet.

On the same day Maseko announced his abrupt departure from eNCA, Pillay tweeted, “Rats swimming towards a sinking ship. #EarlyXmasGift.”

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.”

In his apology, Pillay said, “I hereby express my unreserved apology to all that were offended by my irresponsible and ill-conceived statement on Twitter, posted on Tuesday, 17 December, 2019. I deeply regret the statement I made and retract it in its entirety.”

eNCA journalist take a stand

Meanwhile, several eNCA journalists have announced that they met with the TV news channel’s management and taken a stand for independent journalism.

They all tweeted the same message, “After recent disturbing events, we’ve met with eNCA management and made it clear we stand for independent journalism.

“We’ll protect the sanctity of our credibility. We won’t allow the integrity of our news profession to be made a mockery of. #CredibilityFirst #NoToCensorship.”

The journalists include Xoli Mngambi, Heidi Giokos, Dasen Thathiah, Aviwe Mtila, Thembekile Mrototo, Lindokuhle Xulu, and Mmanaledi Mataboge-Mashetla, among others.

Mngambi and Jane Dutton also spoke out against Pillay in an on-air message. They said, “It is our view that the individual’s actions do not represent our editorial views or values.

“We will never tolerate victimisation of anyone. We stand in solidarity with our suspended colleague Khayelihle Khumalo and apologise to Samkele Maseko for the way he was treated.

“We do not condone or tolerate censorship and we trust the company’s leadership to deal with these issues decisively.”

UPDATE: eNCA has since lifted Khayelihle Khumalo’s suspension and fired Kanthan Pillay as head of news. For more on that story, click here.

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