Popular show presenter joins rival radio station

GREENER PASTURES: Former Thobela FM presenter S'khumbuzo Mbatha. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. © Sowetan.
GREENER PASTURES: Former Thobela FM presenter S'khumbuzo Mbatha. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya

Popular Thobela FM afternoon drive show presenter S'khumbuzo Mbatha has parted ways with the station, and it is certainly for good this time.

Mbatha tendered his resignation on Tuesday. Though he was supposed to serve a month's notice, Mbatha was told to stay home "with immediate effect", depriving him of a chance to bid farewell to his listeners.

Popularly known as The Immaculate One, Mbatha has hosted the afternoon drive show for the past two years.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, he confirmed he was leaving the station.

Mbatha said he has been offered a slot at the soon-to-be established commercial radio in Limpopo, Capricorn FM, which is the brain-child of radio mogul, Given Mkhari. The station will start broadcasting later this year.

Mbatha also revealed he would still host the afternoon drive show at the new radio station, which would be in direct competition with Thobela FM.

"I met with the management of Thobela FM to discuss my impending move and I'm happy to be leaving the station that made me what I am today," said Mbatha.

He said he harboured no hard feelings against the station's management despite their decision to cut his stay short.

"I was surprised when I was told to leave immediately. But that's life and one must just move on," he said.

The likeable presenter first joined the station in 1998 and left in 2000 to pursue personal interests. He was recalled in 2005 to boost the afternoon slot, which at the time was struggling to attract listeners.

Kaizer Kganyago, spokesman for the SABC, said it was the management's prerogative to decide on any staff member's contract or notice.

"In this case, we felt it was in the best interest of the station to release Mbatha without serving notice. We wish him well in his future endeavours," said Kganyago.

Shabba Muleya, one of the shareholders of Capricorn FM, said Mbatha possessed the skills needed by the station.