eNCA anchors Mngambi and Dutton not suspended as outrage over cigarette ban comments grows
Johannesburg - News channel eNCA has said its news anchors Xoli Mngambi and Jane Dutton have not been suspended, despite not appearing on air since Tuesday morning when they apologised for implying that President Cyril Ramaphosa had been undermined by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma over the U-turn on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco during the lockdown..
In a statement, the channel's managing director Norman Munzhelele said Dutton and Mngambi had not been suspended.
"This is an internal matter and remains between the employer and employees.”
In a news bulletin, Mngambi and Dutton implied that Dlamini Zuma, in reversing the lifting of the ban on the sale of cigarettes announced by Ramaphosa on April 23, had undermined Ramaphosa's powers as head of state. It was suggested Ramaphosa has been emasculated by Dlamini Zuma.
Starting the now controversial exchange, the pair said Dlamini Zuma had shown it was not Ramaphosa but her who was controlling South Africa's narrative right now with a "very public show of force" as she had exercised her "power and considerable influence" to enforce the ban.
Radio 702 talk show host Eusebius McKaiser said a previous news editor at eNCA had introduced a policy that required the news anchors to give opinions at the beginning of their news bulletin.
"So, Xoli and Jane were not going rogue; they were doing what they had been asked to do," said McKaiser.
In December 2019, one of the channel's former political reporters, Samkele Maseko, exposed political interference at the news channel through a series of tweets on his Twitter account.
This was after the channel's then head of news Kanthan Pillay had Maseko frogmarched out of eNCA's Hyde Park offices after he had resigned from the channel before his then mooted move to the SABC.
In a tweet that subsequently received a huge public backlash and led to his resignation, Pillay tweeted that rats were "swimming towards a sinking ship" in reference to Maseko.