Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Coronavirus: Lockdown of eMedia Investments' building in Cape Town for a Covid-19 deep-clean after cameraman Lungile Tom's death, over 70 staffers sent into home-quarantine to self-isolate for 14 days.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Cape Town building of eMedia Investments, housing etv News and eNCA, abruptly shuttered on Wednesday following the shocking Covid-19 death of cameraman Lungile Tom with the Zonnebloem suburb building that will be undergoing a deep-clean as the lockdown sent more than 70 staffers to home-quarantine where they will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

It leaves's news division in one specific quandary for now: Without Cape Town-based reporters and cameramen who can roam outside to report on-location from Cape Town and the immediate surroundings for eNCA (DStv 403), eNuus on the kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) channels, and's etv News bulletins.

Those who can, will be able to file stories cloistered from inside their homes in Cape Town but they won't be in the streets and on-location for the time being or interacting with the public.

The temporary Cape Town building closure -  the complex housing the offices, newroom and studio space of etv News and eNCA - and with over 70 staffers self-isolating, will place a heavier burden on eMedia's Hyde Park office and studios in Johannesburg that will be shouldering a bigger remote reporting responsibility when it comes to covering news from Cape Town and the Western Cape province.

Nuruniesa Allie, head of news and sport, told eNCA and etv News on Wednesday night from self-isolation in her home that "tonight the entire building is undergoing a deep-clean and only once the officials are satisfied with that process will we be issued with a certificate to allow people back into the building".

Nisa Allie said that "we've undergone a track-and-tracing process. That is basically identifying every member of staff who had direct contact with Lungile Tom, so they have gone to be tested".

"For the rest of us, because we operate in an open-floor space, the rest of us are in 14 days of self-isolation from the last time that Lungile had been in the office."

"It's an extraordinary time for our company - for many companies around South Africa. And all of our attention and effort is going into our staff and ensuring that they continue to be safe and to abide by government regulations," said Nisa Allie.

The eNCA anchor Sally Burdett said that thoughts also go out "to our family, particularly in Cape Town where I know everyone is absolutely gutted and devastated" over the death of Lungile Tom.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: cameraman Lungile Tom fondly known as 'Marawa' who worked for eNews and eNCA dead from Covid-19, staffers who had contact will be tested and told to stay home. 
ALSO READ: etv News boss Nisa Allie pays tribute to cameraman Lungile Tom who died from Covid-19: The loyal 'fist-pumping guy who documented everything and who liked a muffin and coffee for breakfast'.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eNCA anchor Sally Burdett on the Covid-19 death of cameraman Lungile Tom as more details are revealed: 'It's just so sudden and so shocking and so desperately sad.'
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Tributes flow after Covid-19 death of etv News and eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom: 'A tender, older-brother figure whose physical size made you feel safe and secure no matter where we were reporting from'.