eNCA news boss apologises for tweet referring to ex-staffer as a 'rat'

The offices of e.tv’s 24-hour news service, eNCA
The offices of e.tv’s 24-hour news service, eNCA
Image: Waldo Swiegers

eNCA head of news Kanthan Pillay has apologised for a tweet in which he referred to former staffer Samkele Maseko as a “rat”.

The tweet, on Tuesday, came after Maseko resigned from the news channel to, reportedly, take up a job at the SABC.

“I hereby express my unreserved apology to all that were offended by my irresponsible and ill-conceived statement on Twitter, posted on Tuesday, December 17 2019,” Pillay said in a statement.

The tweet — which made reference to “rats swimming towards a sinking ship [reference to SABC]” — received backlash from social media users.

In response to the tweet, Maseko claimed Pillay personally marched him out of the eNCA building, that he was not allowed to serve his one month's notice, and that the news boss was responsible for censoring comments made by former cabinet member Bongani Bongo about public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

The tweets sparked a backlash, with several former eNCA staffers and former employees of Pillay complaining about his behaviour.

“I deeply regret the statement I made and retract it in its entirety,” Pillay said in the statement.

He said he regretted and apologised “unreservedly” for offending Maseko, the SABC and eMedia.

“The action I took in haste and without thinking, which now places my employer, my colleagues, my family and my friends in a most embarrassing position.

“I accept that my actions were irresponsible and unbecoming of a senior manager in any newsroom.

“The statement I made is unacceptable and rightfully rebuked by all concerned. I regret having been drawn into a Twitter war and I ask for your understanding with the knowledge that I am deeply remorseful of my actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs said the concerns raised would be reviewed, and an external and impartial adjudicator appointed if required.