Management gears up to deal with culprits
SABC's management in Durban says it has referred all payola allegations levelled against Ukhozi FM, South Africa's biggest radio station, to its internal audit wing .
This follows allegations by musicians that some senior officials at the station were reluctant to air their music because they wanted to be offered bribes.
The damning allegations surfaced a few weeks ago when some artists complained to a DA member of the provincial legislature.
SABC regional manager, Zakes Dube, said the broadcaster had taken the allegations seriously.
"We declared this year "operation listen", simply because we wanted to engage with our listeners. When the allegations were made, we did not sit back and fold our arms, but acted the way we did.
"When people talk, we listen and act accordingly. The allegations have really frustrated management.
"We want to catch this big shark and hang him high to dry. He has painted the whole SABC with the same brush and we would want to see him or her paying dearly," said Dube.
Welcome Nzimande, Ukhozi FM's general manager, said when management heard the allegations, it went back to the drawing board to check the station's system.
"We looked at the system, revisited our music policy and made some changes to it.
"We then set up a committee consisting of management, DJs, music compilers and librarians to ensure that no single person was responsible for selecting and compiling music.
"Even the Top 20 is now managed by the same committee.
"By doing so we are trying hard to fight payola - if it exists at all."
Nzimande assured the public, recording companies and artists that those involved in payola would be dealt with once the audit investigations were over.
Asked why one of the suspects, a senior manager, had not been suspended while the investigations continued, Nzimande said there was no substantial evidence directly linking him to the allegations.
Vuyo Mthembu, SABC's media officer, said the findings of the audit would be made known once the investigations had been completed.