Kanthan Pillay. File photo.

Johannesburg - eNCA has fired its Director of News Kanthan Pillay with immediate effect, the news channel confirmed on Friday afternoon

This follows a controversial tweet by Pillay earlier this week, where he said rats were swimming towards a sinking ship, apparently in reference to Samkele Maseko, the news channel's former political journalist, who is understood to be joining the financially troubled SABC in the new year.

Maseko was frog-marched out of the eNCA building on Tuesday after resigning on the same day. 

Pillay has since deactivated his Twitter account after an avalanche of public disdain expressed towards him, some by notable former employees including DJ Fresh, Thando Thabethe, Nickolaus Bauer and Nontobeko Sibisi, among others. 

eNCA in a statement said: "After intense overnight investigation and consultation, the channel decided it had no alternative but to end its relationship with him. Although he was acting in an individual capacity and his posting was unsolicited, he was nonetheless a senior member of staff and the channel believes there was no room for any other outcome and that damage control was imperative.

"Serious allegations have also been levelled at eNCA about Pillay’s censorship of stories and his management style. The channel takes the allegations of censorship very seriously. To that end eNCA is co-operating fully with the SA National Editors Forum that has requested clarity."

eNCA said Pillay's tweet "does not represent the views of e-Media Investments and the channel".

The channel added that it would be appointing an external expert to investigate these claims.

Adding to this was eNCA Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Maggs, who said: “All news organisations have one currency and that is credibility. It is clear this negative attention has adversely affected eNCA’s reputation and credibility. However with the talented and dedicated staff we have, I believe the channel can recover. Right now our immediate priorities are to mend strained relationships and to rebuild credibility with its audience and other stakeholders as soon as possible.”

Pillay joined eNCA shortly after the 2019 general elections when his doomed political party, the Capitalist Party of South Africa, failed to get off the ground by securing a single seat in Parliament. It also failed to secure seats in the provincial legislatures around the country.  

On Friday, eNCA journalists wore black in solidarity with Khayelihle Khumalo, an eNCA journalist who was suspended by Pillay for live tweeting the EFF national conference despite the TV station pulling out of the conference. They are demanding he be reinstated. 

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