Picture: Samkelo Maseko/Twitter
Picture: Samkelo Maseko/Twitter

Samkele Maseko opens can of worms on alleged censorship at eNCA

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Dec 19, 2019

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Durban - After an unceremonious departure on Tuesday, former eNCA political journalist Samkele Maseko has opened a can of worms about alleged censorship and unethical editorial behaviour at the 24-hour news channel. 

In a Twitter rant late Wednesday, Maseko claimed that there was massive news coverage bias in the channel. This seems, indirectly though, to confirm long held sentiments against the channel that it was not fairly giving equal coverage to every citizen as required but has become a tool for factions in the countries big two political parties.

Maseko’s rant was apparent sparked by a tweet by Kanthan Pillay, eNCA’s news chief, who had earlier said rats are swimming toward a sinking ship. The tweet has since been deleted

The tweet appeared to be a criticism of Maseko’s decision to jump ship and join the SABC news channel, a direct competitor which is however, facing financial and management challenges. In response, Maseko quoted the tweet and responded to his former news room boss.

He responded thus: “Do want me to speak about how you threw me out of the @eNCA building like a dog who had stolen something. How you came to my desk and said I should pack my shit and follow you to HR. You are heartless and unethical. Denying some(one) a chance to serve a notice period(.)”

Do want me to speak about how you threw me out of the @eNCA building like a dog who had stolen something. How you came to my desk and said I should pack my shit and follow you to HR. You are heartless and unethical. Denying some a chance to serve a notice period https://t.co/qnKkpnGoX4

— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) December 18, 2019


Minutes later, Maseko dropped the bombshell about alleged censorship in the newsroom that prides itself as South Africa’s most watched news channel. He alleged that Pillay, a controversial figure who once ventured into politics (and failed) as the leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa, was behind the acts of censorship. 

“Do you want me to speak about how you instructed that @MYANC MP Bongani Bhongo be sensored by removing all the allegations he made at Minister Pravin Gordhan (sic)? What happened to a simple journalism principle of two sides to a story? Getting both parties to answer for themselves,” Maseko wrote.


Do you want me to speak about how you instructed that @MYANC MP Bongani Bhongo be sensored by removing all the allegations he made at Minister Pravin Gordhan? What happened to a simple journalism principle of two sides to a story? Getting both parties to answer for themselves https://t.co/qnKkpnGoX4

— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) December 18, 2019


The censoring incident allegedly happened on November 21 when shortly after he was granted bail, he claimed, on record, that Gordhan was behind his legal troubles. Bongo claimed that Gordhan threatened him in the corridors of parliament that something was going to happen to him for working with the EFF and Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to destroy him. 

Gordhan later denied Bongo’s claims when asked by Independent Media to give his side of the story. 

Maseko also implied, in another tweet, that the channel’s decision to pull out of the EFF’s conference over the weekend was not about solidarity with the banning of controversial and donor funded news entities, Daily Maverick, Scorpio and Amabhungane. He alleged that it was about Pillay’s personal desire to “settle political scores.”

“The disrespect you have for an African Black Child is appalling, you have no sense of appreciation none whatsoever. We are not here to play politics and settle political scores with the EFF like you are doing. Busy sensoring (sic) political talk and instructing things to taken of air,” Maseko claimed in one of the three main volleys he fired at Pillay. 

Maseko’s shocking revelations led to prominent Twitter user, Tumi Sole, a corporate attorney, to speculate what other unethical editorial decisions are taken behind the scenes at the channel. 

“One can only imagine what happens behind the scenes at ENCA! The nicest thing about social media is that we won’t get one side of the story!  Strength @samkelemaseko and my offer still stands,” Sole tweeted.


One can only imagine what happens behind the scenes at ENCA!

The nicest thing about social media is that we won’t get one side of the story!

Strength @samkelemaseko and my offer still stands 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/plhI6TDSAq

— Tumi Sole (@tumisole) December 18, 2019


Some of the country’s senior journalists expressed their support for Maseko. Khadija Patel said newsroom leaders must treat their staff with dignity. 

“Alarmed by @samkelemaseko’s account of his departure from ENCA. At a time when journalists are so systematically  attacked, newsroom leaders - and I count myself here - must do better by their staff,” Patel tweeted. 

Alarmed by @samkelemaseko’s account of his departure from ENCA. At a time when journalists are so systematically attacked, newsroom leaders - and I count myself here- must do better by their staff.

— Khadija Patel (@khadijapatel) December 18, 2019

The assistant editor of the Sunday Independent, Piet Rampedi, who has been on a solo crusade to expose the rot in some newsrooms and hunting in packs by some political journalists in the country, gave Maseko a pat on the shoulder for speaking out. 

“Thanks for speaking out and defending your honour and  professional integrity @samkelemaseko. @eNCA and @KanthanPillay's heartless and bitter response to a normal resignation, is a sign you are good at what you do. These sour losers didn't make you. They can't break you. Goodluck,” Rampedi tweeted. 

Political Bureau

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