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Sanef calls for thorough investigation into allegations against Kanthan Pillay

Sanef has welcomed the sacking of Kanthan Pillay on Friday, after the channel faced an avalanche of criticism following an offensive tweet posted by him.

Kanthan Pillay. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) is calling on eNCA to get to the bottom of allegations levelled against now former head of news Kanthan Pillay.

The editors group has welcomed Pillay's sacking on Friday, after the channel faced an avalanche of criticism following an offensive tweet posted by him.

Pillay, a former politician whose appointment a few months ago raised eyebrows, gloated in a tweet about former senior journalist Samkele Maseko leaving the station – likening him to a rat.

He also alluded to the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC), where it’s understood Maseko is headed, as a sinking ship.

The post sparked a series of spectacular events with allegations that Pillay had a hand in editorial interference at the news channel.

Sanef says misconduct and unethical behaviour in newsrooms should be exposed.

IS IT TOO LATE TO APOLOGISE?

After Maseko resigned from the television news channel this week, Pillay tweeted "Rats swimming towards a sinking ship - #EarlyXmasGift".

This prompted Maseko to reveal allegations of censorship and editorial interference by Pillay.

In an internal memo sent to eNCA staff, Pillay apologised for the offence caused to all and specifically Maseko, the SABC and the management of eMedia.

He admitted that his actions were irresponsible and unbecoming of a senior manager.

Pillay is a media practitioner and a founding member of the Capitalist Party of South Africa - otherwise known as the "Purple Cow" - which contested the 2019 general elections.

Kanthan Pillay's apology:

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

I deeply regret the statement I made and retract it in its entirety.

I regret further and apologize unreservedly for:

1. The offence caused to all and specifically to Mr Maseko, the SABC and the Management of eMedia.

2. 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:

1. My actions were irresponsible and unbecoming of a Senior Manager in any newsroom.

2. The statement I made is unacceptable and rightfully rebuked by all concerned.

3. In the next few days, the matter will be further discussed and investigated, and whatever the outcome, will be binding on me.

I regret having been drawn into a twitter war and I ask for your understanding with the knowledge that I deeply remorseful of my actions.

Thank you
Kanthan Pillay

Additional reporting by Veronica Mokhoali

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