Samkele Maseko rejects Kanthan Pillay’s apology

“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” – a tweet read from several eNCA staffers. Picture: Twitter

Johannesburg – Former eNCA political journalist Samkele Maseko has rejected Kanthan Pillay’s apology over a controversial tweet.

The tweet followed Maseko’s departure from the news channel. Pillay took to Twitter to publish a cryptic message where he referred to Maseko as a rat and his new employers, the SABC, as a sinking ship.

He has since deleted his Twitter account after resounding social media backlash.  Pillay apologised to Maseko, the SABC and his employers in a statement issued by eNCA on Thursday.

“Pillay says he has retracted the tweet in its entirety adding that his actions were irresponsible and unbecoming of a senior manager.

“Pillay’s actions are being thoroughly investigated by exco members of eNCA’s parent company e-Media Investments,” said the channel.

Taking to Twitter on Friday after appearing on Talk Radio 702 with Eusebius McKaiser, Maseko said he rejected Pillay’s apology and said he was in solidarity with Khayelihle Khumalo, another eNCA journalist who has been suspended for live tweeting the EFF’s conference at the weekend despite his channel pulling out from the event.

“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. #JusticeforKhayakhumalo,” said Maseko on Twitter.A leaked letter published on social media showed that Khumalo had been suspended and instructed not to return to work until his disciplinary hearing had concluded.

On Friday, eNCA journalists wore black in support of Khumalo and Maseko. The journalists are also calling on eNCA to remove Pillay from his position as head of news.
Pillay joined the channel after his failed voyage to politics with the Capitalist Party of South Africa, also known as the purple cow party. The political party failed to make an impact in the 2019 general elections, securing no seats in Parliament nor in any of the provincial legislatures around the country.
eNCA has been criticised widely for appointing a politician into the senior role in the newsroom.
The South African National Editors Forum said on Thursday it would request a meeting with eNCA to discuss allegations made against Pillay, which include unethical journalistic behaviour and censorship.