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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Newzroom Afrika attracts heavies in new staff line-up

To mark the channel's 5th birthday Newzroom Afrika has also roped in seasoned anchor Iman Rappetti.

Ahead of its fifth anniversary in May, Newzroom Afrika has announced a line-up of recognised anchors after experiencing an exodus of on-air talent in the past few months. 

“We are… embarking on a much-needed refresh to the line-up to inject new talent and energy while drawing on the solid experience in our ranks to ensure the highest standards of accuracy and integrity in our reporting,” said the channel’s CEO, Thabile Ngwato on Thursday morning.

Newzroom Afrika was launched in May 2019, after MultiChoice ended their contract with the now non-operational Afro Worldview which is formerly known as African News Network 7 or ANN7 in 2018. Afro Worldview was established and owned by the controversial Gupta family.

ALSO READ: ‘No,I am not floor-crossing’ – Athi Mtongana mum on next move after leaving Newzroom Afrika

The exodus

There was much fan-air when the station was launched, owing to its ownership being fully black. Ngwato, a former news anchor herself is one half of the company which she owns together with television production entrepreneur Thokozani Nkosi.

But in the last few months there have been allegations of editorial interference from the company’s big shots, which has allegedly forced a few anchors to shy away from the news channel.

In November last year news anchor Cathy Mohlahlana unexpectedly announced her departure from the channel, after her return from maternity leave. Nothing strange here, except her statement only thanked viewers, not once mentioning her former employers.

 “I would not be who I am without your support as viewers. You have given me more than I could ever ask for. Thank you,” read Mohlahlana’s short statement.

Her exit followed that of Parliament reporter, Athi Mtongana. “I am incredibly humbled by all the touching messages. I know the main question is ‘where are you going?’” Mtongana wrote in early October.

“All I can say for now is watch this space! I still want to serve you, but this time around, it will be different (with an incredible team),” she said.

The most recent talent to bid farewell to Newzroom Afrika is Thembekile Mrototo. His was colder than his former colleagues.

“Leaving… today is my last day at Newzroom405. I have resigned from the channel and my last show will be at 6pm tonight,” he wrote on his social media account.

In his statement too, was a paucity of appreciation for his former employers.

“Thank you to all the colleagues who’ve contributed to the many wonderful broadcasts since 2021. Thank you for watching and always being so generous with your feedback,” wrote Mrototo.

Roping in influencers

In Thursday morning’s statement the station roped in influencers, to congratulate the it for turning five years old.

Some of the new additions to Newzroom include former SABC News anchors Aldrin Sampear and Naledi Moleo, who will both now anchor the AM Report.

Xoli Mngambi moves to prime time, where he’ll host the evening slot. Seasoned anchor Iman Rappetti will host the midday report which follows Sampear and Moleo’s AM Report.

“This is especially important to us as we build up to a big election season in South Africa, which will be a strong focus of the channel as we document round-the clock coverage of the country’s democracy in action,” said Ngwato.

 “Our story has not been an easy one, yet despite it all the year 2024 promises to be an exciting new challenge for Newzroom Afrika as we celebrate our fifth birthday,” concluded the CEO.

NOW READ: News anchor Cathy Mohlahlana announces her departure from Newzroom Afrika

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