Monday, December 15, 2014

Hajra Omarjee, Tirrin Cosway dump ANN7 as the 'GuptaTV' news channel keeps bleeding on-air talent with ongoing staff exits.

Hajra Omarjee and Tirrin Cosway have now also both quit ANN7 (DStv 405) as South Africa's beleaguered third 24-hour TV news channel from Infinity Media, nicknamed "GuptaTV", keeps bleeding on-air talent in a shocking exodus of staff.

Hajra Omarjee who joined from eNCA, decided to dump ANN7 after just a year with Saturday which was her last day; the future of the political talk show Political Edge which she hosted and which finished its first season in doubt following her exit.

Also a gonner is ANN7's primetime business anchor and social media reporter Tyron "Tirrin" Cosway.

Tirrin Cosway is gone from ANN7 just weeks after he said an on-air goodbye to ANN7 Prime's Chantal Rutter-Dros on 3 December, who quit and had been the face of ANN7 since the channel's disastrous launch in August 2013.

ANN7's flagship weeknight broadcast is in tatters and has now been dismantled and destroyed, leaving primetime sports anchor Peter Stemmet who joined the Midrand based news channel from eNCA, and morning anchor Peter van Onselen as the only remaining credible news presenters.

In just one year ANN7 - part-owned and run by Atul and Ajay Gupta and broadcast on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and where it competes with eNCA (DStv 403) and SABC News (404) - saw the exits of Gerry Rantseli-Elsdon just months after her breakfast show Vuka Africa was launched with great fanfare.

It was followed by the demise of weekend show Between the Lines and its presenter Asanda Magaqa escorted from the building.

The exodus leaves the gutted channel with barely any well-known or respected on-air talent news brand names who viewers turn to when they seek out credible TV news reporting.

Behind the scenes general manager for operations at ANN7 Dave McGregor quit this year, so did assignments editor Clinton Nagoor, while the "weather girls" were dumped with weather forecasts now having no presenters.

According to reports, ANN7 is a fraught with unhappiness and staff discord behind the scenes, with personnel allegedly tired and fed-up with low pay, bad treatment, grueling working conditions and cost cutting.

Last month ANN7 told TV with Thinus "all employees are treated fairly". 

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) submitted a list of grievances to ANN7 management, alleging poor pay, forced overtime without pay, a shortage of vehicles to cover the news, no sick bay, unfair labour practices and ill-treatment of staff.