by Thinus Ferreira
Namibia's National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has removed both NBC News anchor Elmarie Kapunda and sports presenter Jessica Kaimu from the airwaves indefinitely following their eye-popping and extremely awkward on-air spat (see it here) during a live broadcast that got seen by millions.
The bizarre on-air fight between Elmarie Kapunda and Jessica Kaimu happened during a live news broadcast on NBC's Namibia News programme when Elmarie Kapunda introduced and switched over for sports news to Jessica Kaimu but angered her colleague when she dared to say too much for Jessica's liking.
"No, you're not going to do that. You're just going to greet me, and say, 'Take it away'," Jessica snipped.
Elmarie Kapunda deadpanned: "Jessica, we are live", after which both just stared silently until a technical director cut to commercial.
The cringe-worthy on-air moment was mocked and re-enacted by SABC News (DStv 404) presenters Sakina Kamwendo and Vaylen Kirtley (see it here) a day after the video clip went viral.
Lazarus Jacobs, the chairperson of NBC's board, initially lied to CNN International, and said that Elmarie Kapunda and Jessica Kaimu wouldn't be removed from their positions. By Thursday they were gone from the airwaves on NBC although they remain employed.
Both presenters would apparently be undergoing further "on-air training".
Namibia's New Era daily newspaper reported that Namibia's NBC has dropped Elmarie Kapunda and Jessica Kaima indefinitely from their presenting roles. NBC management and senior staffers at the broadcaster saw the incident as "highly embarrassing".
NBC isn't responding to media enquiries.
NBC on social media in a curt statement said that "Due to numerous queries being sent to the NBC regarding the matter of the two presenters Elmarie Kapunda and Jessica Kaimu the NBC would like to officially set the record straight".
"These two colleagues are part and parcel of the NBC family. At no point was there ever talk of dismissing these colleagues from the services of the NBC. Their employment thus as anchors at the NBC is intact."