'SABC favoured Power Mix advert'

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Lesedi FM manager Pula Pula Mothibi instructed presenters to promote Power Mix because it benefited the station, the Johannesburg commercial crimes court heard yesterday.

Programme administrator Motlalepule Ramathe further told the court that it was common knowledge that presenters were selling Power Mix.

Ramathe was testifying in the corruption trial of suspended presenter Thuso Motaung, his wife Mmamotha and business associate Joshua Ramme.

The Motaungs and Ramme were arrested in 2006 for defrauding the SABC of airtime amounting to R32million.

The trio are out on bail.

Ramathe agreed with Advocate Mike Hellens, representing the Motaungs, that listenership of the station increased during the campaign to advertise Power Mix. She said the station benefited from the proceeds of selling the product.

She said there had never been complaints by the station manager or programme manager, Wire Khoali, about the way either the Motaungs and other presenters were "pumping up" Power Mix.

"I am not aware of any complaint and if there are any there should be records of that within the station," she said.

It was Khoali's responsibility to devise a schedule as to how presenters were supposed to advertise the product.

She was not aware of any schedule and as a result it was left to the discretion of presenters to advertise the product.

The court also heard that live feeds to be read by presenters were in English and they had to translate them to Sesotho.

One advert that was supposed to last 15 seconds on radio was read in court and lasted five minutes.

Another popular presenter, Chomane Chomane, stated in an affidavit read out in court yesterday that he had also advertised the product. He did not take the stand because of time constraints.

He said that during his show he had invited listeners to come to his house if they wanted the product.