The tragic death of eNCA ENG cameraman, Lungile Tom, points to the “very dangerous work that journalists do, working on the frontline” of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s the word from the South African National Editors’ Forum, which was responding to the news that Tom had died on Wednesday morning after being admitted to hospital on Sunday night with COVID-19 symptoms. He was 45 years old.
“We call on all media companies to assist journalists with protective gear and for journalists to be extra careful and follow all safety precautions. We also call on media companies, where possible, to assist journalists with trauma counselling,” SANEF said in a statement.
eMedia chief operating officer Antonio Lee said Tom joined eNCA in December 2013 having previously worked at CNBC Africa.
“Lungile was known for his larger than life personality and his dedication to his craft. His buoyant laughter will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, Nandipha, and his children,” Lee said.
Lee said In adherence to government regulations, the company had disinfected and closed the affected floor, and started a tracing and tracking process. Employees who had contact with Tom were advised to stay at home. They will be tested and go into self-isolation.
Parliament’s President Officers said that through his through his “sharp eye and knowledge of Parliament”, Tom had brought the often intricate workings of the institution to many South African homes.
“His news footage demonstrated remarkable passion, experience and creativity. He spent time in the corridors of Parliament and, with patience, humility and passion, highlighted the happenings of Parliament to the people,” they said in a statement.
For many journalists, Tom’s death has brought home the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
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