Former eNCA political journalist Samkele Maseko, who was kicked out of the 24-hour news channel on Tuesday after indicating that he was going to serve a notice period, says he will now speak out at a later stage.
Maseko told Independent Media on Thursday that there would be a ceasefire but more information would be revealed at an inquiry into media ethics which would be chaired by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell and working with veteran journalists, Nikiwe Bikitsha and Rich Mkhondo.
The inquiry was initiated by the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) to investigate what went wrong with the country’s journalism in recent years and what can be done to strengthen the news media so that trust and alliances between it and the public can be built.
Sanef has since invited interested parties to report any ethical breaches, evidence of capture of journalists by their sources, capture of publications or media houses and bribery of journalists.
Now Maseko said he would take up that opportunity presented by Sanef.
“Please take what I responded to Kanthan Pillay with his racist post on Twitter. Also take what Sanef has said about me. That’s my position. From there I won’t be drawn to commenting on Kanthan or eNCA, I will make my presentation to Sanef,” Maseko said when asked to shed more light in the alleged censorship at the channel, amongst other things.
Sanef confirmed that Maseko would be appearing before the inquiry which is billed to get off the ground next year.
In a statement condemning the alleged editorial interference as alleged by Maseko, Sanef said the censoring of journalists, who report in ethical and responsible ways is anathema in our industry and should always be strongly condemned.
“We welcome the fact that Maseko has agreed to approach Judge Kathleen Satchwell and the Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry to discuss these issues further,” Sanef said in the statement.
Pillay is the eNCA’s head of news who was accused by Maseko of kicking him out of the channel on Tuesday. It has since emerged that Pillay, the former leader of the now defunct Capitalist Party of South Africa, is not new to newsroom controversy.
Popular entertainer DJ Fresh alleged that Pillay’s abrasive relationship with employees forced the popular deejay to leave the station.
“His becoming hands on at YFM was the reason I jumped ship, and why it was so easy to leave!!! He is not a nice person at all... #PeopleQuitManagersNotBrands,” the DJ tweeted on Wednesday evening when the fallout ballooned.
Weighing in, Blade Nzimande, the general of the South African Communist Party (SACP), took to Facebook and said Pillay can't be allowed to get away with this highly objectionable racist insult against Maseko.
“We just must not let him and the eNCA get away with this racist rubbish. I hold no brief for Samkelo, but this is offensive in the extreme! We just must not allow Africans to continue being subjected to such racist treatment in this day and age, and continue to be called rats especially by people who never raised a finger against the apartheid regime and its system. Even those who might have fought against apartheid have no right to call black people rats. Both Pillay and eNCA must be called to account. Let us take up this matter in earnest. Hayibo, sijwayelwa kabi la!” Nzimande wrote on Facebook.
Despite the fallout, it was business as usual for eNCA, who are keeping mum about the issue. It was yet to respond to questions about the allegations made by Maseko. Also mum was Pillay who was yet to respond to questions sent to him by Independent Media on Thursday.