Fired radio host uses petition in bid to get job back
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Govender was dismissed by the SABC in July for calling President Jacob Zuma a “zombie” after Zuma’s opening address to the ANC’s policy conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.
“Just hear Zombie Zuma giving a speech on the news. Massacring the beautiful English language. Uneducated creature,” read his post on Facebook.
The comments angered Zuma supporters, including the president’s son, Edward Zuma, who reportedly said he would not accept Govender’s apology. Govender later deleted the post and apologised, claiming he had posted in a moment of anger.
On Tuesday, Govender told the Daily News he was looking forward to getting back to his job. He said friends had set up an online petition to get the SABC to take him back.
“I made a mistake on my Facebook page. I didn’t want to be involved in a tussle over the issue with the SABC, so that’s why I didn’t challenge my dismissal. No processes were followed. I was given a letter saying I should explain why I shouldn’t be fired and later an instruction from Johannesburg came to say I was fired. All I want to do is to get back on air and do what I do best.” Govender said the petition was shared more than a thousand times on Facebook.
At the time of his dismissal, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the state broadcaster was concerned that Govender had brought the entity into disrepute.
Govender was employed on a contract basis.
On Tuesday, he posted on his Facebook page: “35 years of Lotus FM: Whatever the future holds for me, I wish the station the very best. In all my 13 years at the station not one day did the station manager or programme manager question anything I did. I was always treated with the utmost respect. The decision that was taken regarding me was made in Joburg by the old regime. Here’s to going forward, Lotus, and bringing back your listeners.”
Followers encouraged him to “soldier on” to get his job back as no other person was doing it better.
Edward Zuma on Tuesday said he wanted a public apology from Govender.
“If the SABC happens to give in to pressure, I’ll challenge any decision to bring this man back on air in court. I’m not looking at any financial gain from him. All I need is a public apology to the president as he insulted him in public. I’m still pursuing that angle and I’ll do so to the bitter end,” Zuma said.