Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/Africa News Agency(ANA) Archives

Mahikeng - A group of SABC's radio station Motsweding FM listeners marched to the public broadcaster in Mahikeng on Thursday, demanding the renewal of presenters' contracts.

Listeners complained that the station was no longer preserving and respecting Setswana as its sole mandatory broadcasting language.

Makhuduga Mosenogi, the spokesperson of the Oupa Matla Foundation which co-ordinated the march said they wanted the contracts of presenters, Alpheus Keonyaditswe, Goitsemodimo Seleka, Peter Manzana, Stella Sebalo,  Will Tiro, Essence Moumakwe and Refilwe Madisa to be renewed with immediate effect and they should resume their duties on April 1.

She said station manager, Katlego Mokhele, recruits non-Setswana speaking presenters with the pretence of addressing dialects.

"Setswana is an official language as per South African Constitution, therefore there is no need for him to compete with community radio stations," Mokhele said.

"Community radio stations are there to address dialects, however Motsweding FM as a public radio broadcaster has a mandate to broadcast in Setswana, not only for entertainment but for edutainment as well." 

She said Mokhele was not fit to managed Motsweding FM.

In the memorandum they wanted Mokhele to be fired with immediate effect as the station manager and for a forensic investigation to be conducted from the time he was appointed.

They also want veteran broadcaster Snyman Rankane to act as acting station manager until the forensic audit was concluded and to facilitate the change that was needed at the station.

The SABC was given 24 hours to respond to the memorandum.

Receiving the memorandum, acting regional manager of the SABC in North West Raymond Makgopa said he would forward the memorandum to his principals.

Meanwhile, concerned Motsweding FM independent contractors said there has been a continuous culture of fear and intimidation at the radio station, which has caused a very tense and toxic environment. 

"The radio station management is not approachable for employees to engage robustly and honestly about challenges faced by the station. Threats of contract termination, more specifically for freelancers, is a theme of any staff meeting we manage to have," they said in a statement. 

"This has gotten to a point where even seasoned personnel are even afraid to offer advice about how to stabilise the listenership because their input is not valued."

African News Agency (ANA)