Kathan Pillay is an Indian South African politician and journalist at eNCA. He founded and is the chairperson of chairperson of the Capitalist Party of South Africa – ZACP.
Pillay was removed from his job at the eNCA after what was described as racial tweet and against a subordinate. Previously outspoken on social media especially against the Economic Freedom Front political party which campaigned for people to boycott eNCA after Pillay’s tweets, Pillay deleted his Twitter account following his firing.
Pillay was born in 1961 in Durban, South Africa, where he finished primary school. He completed high school in Bangalore, India then returned to South Africa where be briefly enrolled at a university and was expelled.
Pillay became a freelancer for Post Natal where covered politics, sports and entertainment. He eventually became a political reporter. Around this time he got a certificate in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.
Pillay left South African in 1986 to study Political Science and Psychology at Princeton University on a scholarship. At the university he quickly took a liking to computers eventually getting a job at the campus computer center. He was later employed by the Italian Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development (CRS4) on the island of Sardinia where he became Senior Research Scientist in the Computers and Networks group.
He left CRS4 in 1993 to rejoin Natal Newspapers in 1993 where became Systems Administrator.
In 1997 he became Managing Editor of the Cape Times in Cape Town. He left 2 years later to become a business executive at e.tv. He left e.tv in 2006 and founded a consulting firm called Nqabile Recorporations.
In 2007 he was appointed CEO of YFM. He left 10 years later to join to become a news executive at E Media Investments.
In November 2018, Pillay founded the Capitalist Party of South Africa. The party participated in the May 2019 elections but failed to get a single seat in parliament.
Dispute with EFF and removal from eNCA
In December 2019, Pillay tweeted that a subordinate of his at eNCA, journalist Samkele Maseko was a rat, a remark that was considered racist. He also criticised the SABC as sinking ship. Maseko had earlier resigned and he was going to join the SABC.
In response, Maseko accused Pillay of racism and censorship of stories in an effort to “settle political scores with the EFF”.
The EFF weighed in by calling for a boycott of the eNCA and the hashtag #eNCAMustFall. This prompted eNCA to issue a statement to staff letting them know that Pillay would apologise to both Maseko and the SABC, which he did.
However, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) pushed for a full investigation into the censorship allegations.
On 20 December 2019, Pillay was fired from his job.
He subsequently deleted his Twitter account.