eNCA anchor gives Motshekga public apology

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. (GCIS)
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. (GCIS)

Johannesburg - eNCA senior anchor Andrew Barnes on Thursday issued a public apology for mocking Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's pronunciation of the word "epitome".

"I am grateful for this opportunity to apologise for the comment I made on News Day on Wednesday afternoon. I made fun of the education minister's pronunciation of the word 'epitome'.

"I realise now that that comment caused a lot of hurt and in fact was ultimately unfair and insensitive. To those of you at home and Minister Motshekga, I am sorry," Barnes said in what appeared to be a recorded message.

Barnes made the initial remark while the broadcaster aired extracts from Motshekga's speech that she delivered when announcing the results for the 2015 matric year on Tuesday.

After cutting back to Barnes at the end of the snippet, he said: "Maybe someone should have a word with the basic education minister about how to pronounce the word 'epitome'."

On Thursday, the news reader did not report for his usual duties.

"We have begun disciplinary measures against Andrew Barnes...," eNCA told News24 when quizzed about whether he had been suspended.

The broadcaster described Barnes comments as "not only hurtful and unnecessary, but deeply insensitive" and apologised for his comment.

It said it was committed to honest, fair, accurate, and unbiased reporting.

"Any action or statement from an employee that undermines that ethos is taken very seriously," eNCA said.

It was not immediately clear when Barnes was expected to report back for duty.

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