Igagasi talkshow host refutes she is biased against Mbeki supporters and talks of business concerns

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Controversial talkshow host and former SABC news journalist Gugu Kunene yesterday laughed off suggestions that she was fired from her job at Igagasi FM in Durban following complaints from listeners and politicians that she was politically biased.

Speaking to Sowetan from her hotel room in Cape Town, Kunene said: "I was not fired. I asked the station to relieve me of my duties. I needed time to focus on my business interests."

The exit of the current affairs host from the station sparked widespread rumours in the province that she got the chop last month following numerous complaints by President Thabo Mbeki's supporters who accused her of being Jacob Zuma's "mouthpiece".

Kunene said before the station's head of news, Alex Mthiyane, approached her to present the station's current affairs show, View Point , business already took up much of her time.

"Alex offered me the opportunity to come back to journalism. I accepted, but still ran my business in my spare time."

Kunene said she resigned to concentrate on her business, which she started a few years ago. "Journalism is still very close to my heart and will remain my first love,'' she said.

Kunene said she hasn't completely left Igagasi. She would continue to host special broadcasts from time to time.

Yesterday Mthiyane also rejected claims that the station had fired Kunene. Asked why no action was taken against her after complaints by some listeners and politicians, Mthiyane said "the complaints came close to the ANC conference".

"There were politicians and listeners who thought a certain issue could have been handled differently. We received a few complaints and not a blanket of criticism from listeners.

"I sometimes host the same show and, yes, there are those that criticise me, and they will always be there."

He said Kunene was offered a six-month contract because of her business interests and despite her departure, she would continue to feature as one of the station's key "resident analysts".