The SABC has once again been fingered in accusations of unfair treatment of employees, this time involving those working for its Nguni language based radio stations.
According to a petition launched a couple of days ago on Amandla.Mobi, on-air staff at stations such as Ukhozi FM and Umhlobo Wenene FM, are paid less than their colleagues doing the same jobs for stations such as METRO FM and 5FM.
While stations such as 5FM form part of SABC radio’s commercial station line-up, Nguni stations pull in a significantly bigger audience than English stations.
Ukhozi FM is the biggest radio station in the country, beating out all competitors at other independent media houses.
The anonymous petition’s author writes:
Ukhozi FM, for example, has a listenership of approximately eight million people followed by Umhlobo Wenene FM at more than five million listeners – making them leading radio stations in the country yet the staff at these radio stations are paid less than their English counterparts,”
This is problematic for the following reasons:
- It creates a general impression that speaking English qualifies one better and is indicative of apartheid-style remuneration where black people earn less than their white counterparts.
- It creates an exodus of talent from the indigenous radio stations as Nguni-speaking radio talent is forever attracted to work for English speaking radio stations.
- It creates a negative perception among the public that working for a Nguni-speaking radio station is a non-rewarding national duty compared to that of the English speaking radio stations, and as a result a general lack of respect or looking down upon the efforts of Nguni-speaking personalities.
According to the petition, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who is said to be a champion for black and freelance employees at the SABC, has made mention of this “elephant in the room” before.
“This is racist in essence and it must change with the coming year’s budget allocations,” the author says.
So far, 36 people have signed the petition.
SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago’s mobile number was unreachable at the time of publishing this story. We will be following this however.