Durban - Former Lotus FM jock Ravi Govender says his axing over social media comments about the president was not warranted and the matter had been blown out of proportion.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m trying to see what options there are, but if I did get my job back I would be harassed and under scrutiny all the time, and that’s not how I’d like to work,” he said.
Known to fans as Ravi G, Govender said he was asked on Monday to explain why he believed his Facebook post referring to President Jacob Zuma as an “uneducated creature” and a zombie did not bring the SABC into disrepute.
This was after Zuma’s son Edward released a statement and threatened legal action.
The post was replaced with an apology including - said Govender - a personal phone call to Edward to apologise.
“He said he didn’t want to hear from me and dropped the phone,” said Govender.
Govender also responded and apologised to each “threatening and vulgar” message in his inbox.
He was later informed that his year-on-year contract had been terminated.
“All of this happened in one day. One post changed the course of my life. Lotus FM was a sizeable chunk of income but what’s more important to me is my fans and the medium of radio, I’m going to miss that. I went 12 years without missing a single show. ”
Govender believes he was made an example of.
But SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said Govender’s contract was terminated with immediate effect because he had brought the broadcaster into disrepute, in contravention of his contract.
It also had nothing to do with the comments being about the president. “Whatever you do in the public space, you carry the platform (TV channel/ radio station) with you, so you must behave according to the contract agreed upon.” Kganyago said this was the first time the SABC had dealt decisively and with expediency with such matters.
Social media expert and director of the Durban University of Technology’s e-Skills CoLab, Dr Colin Thakur, said the instantaneous nature of social media was a blessing and a curse. “It’s a blessing because you can send out an idea, thought or emotion and get maximum reach, but the downside is that there is no scope for moderation or regretting.
“Once what you say is out there, it’s out there, and the more embarrassing and humiliating the post, the more it’s likely to be amplified,” he said.
Thakur warned that social media did not forget, and deleting and apologising - even if done mere minutes later - almost always came too late.