Top radio man goes ahead with festival, then resigns

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Rio Mabunda, the award-winning Ligwalagwala FM station manager who recently returned on air - after being away from the microphone for eight years - has resigned from the SABC.

His shock move came amid claims that the corporation at first gave him permission to organise a gospel music festival, at which the station planned to celebrate its 27th anniversary, but later changed its tune at the last minute. The festival took place at KaMhlushwa last Saturday.

Sources at the station - which has about 1,4million listeners, told Sowetan that Mabunda was instructed to "cancel the festival".

Mabunda is said to have gone ahead with the festival because the cancellation order came "too late" to warn all the station' s listeners.

The festival attracted a 30000 people. Top musicians who performed included gospel queen Rebecca Malope.

"He obviously could not stand this latest blow (from management). I mean, what was going to be his explanation to the listeners when the show was cancelled at the last minute?" asked an insider who preferred not to be identified.

Christine Mazibuko, the station's promotions and publicity officer, would neither deny nor confirm Mabunda's resignation.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, however, confirmed that the corporation had received a letter of resignation from Mabunda.

"Yes, we have received the resignation letter today and the management is dealing with the matter as we speak."

Asked if it was true that the SABC had frustrated Mabunda by cancelling the festival at the last minute, he said: "The employer-employee relationship is confidential. So we need not go into details."

Mabunda, who has served the station since 1993, declined to comment and is now apparently serving out a month's notice.