By BO Staff Writer
Twenty-four hour news channel, eNCA, is yet again embroiled in a scandal regarding the treatment of its newsroom staff.
According to reports, the station which is partly owned by South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, could be flouting labour laws by employing freelance news anchors with no contracts. This is illegal in South African labour law.
“If you complain you are removed from the roster. And there is no contract that you can go back to and say: ‘But I have a contract to work this number of shifts a month’”, one of the anchors, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of victimization, told The Star newspaper.
The freelance anchors are said to be anxious, as they never know when the station will axe them.
This comes as the station is involved in yet another tug of war with its former entertainment reporter, Nontobeko Sibisi, who was recently fired and told to pack her desk and leave, as other staff members watched in shock. Sibisi is currently fighting for her reinstatement at the CCMA.
Sibisi was taken off air last year by white senior editors for wearing a head wrap (doek) on screen during Africa Day celebrations. The scandal showed that the station has a great intolerance for anything which is pro-black.
Last year, another former black reporter at eNCA, Phakamile Hlubi, made headline news after she wrote a scathing open letter to the station, accusing it of racism, exploitation and blocking the formation of a worker’s union.
“Our journey began after senior management, with the blessing of the board, refused to grant us the right to form an employee forum in May last year. They made it clear that any structure which was advocating for workers’ rights on the premises was unwelcome,” Hlubi wrote. “We still have many problems at E. The lack of transformation, racism, unjustifiable salary discrepancies amongst people who do the same work, are just some of the problems which must be addressed.”
The Black First Land First (BLF) movement has condemned what it calls “slave labour conditions” at the station and has called for it to comply with the law.
“BLF is not shocked by revelations of slave labour conditions, as revealed in The Star newspaper, at eTV’s 24-hour news channel, eNCA. The shock is the silence amongst the pseudo guardians of good governance who are in actual fact mere agents of white monopoly capital. The silence of media personalities like Eusebuis McKaizer, Ferial Haffajee, Peter Bruce and Alec Hogg is a clear indication that the so-called ‘media’, is captured by white monopoly capital,” the movement said.
“ENCA is a den of exploitation and racism, however, those who are victims are forced into silence because of fear of victimization. BLF calls on the Department of Labour to immediately undertake a labour rights inspection at the slave labour camp known as eNCA,” BLF said.