Two community radio stations fall silent as looters steal equipment

Paul Ash Senior reporter
The studio at Mams Radio community station in Mamelodi after being trashed by looters.
The studio at Mams Radio community station in Mamelodi after being trashed by looters.
Image: Mams Radio

Two community-run radio stations have gone off air after looters robbed them of broadcast equipment on Monday night.

Criminals broke into the Alex FM offices at 2am and stole R5m worth of broadcasting equipment, said station manager Takalani Nemangowe.

Mams Radio in Mamelodi, Tshwane, was also hit during the night, becoming “one of the vandalised and looted properties in the area”, said station operations manager Sipho Mpho Motau.

“Our broadcasting transmitter, studios and other office equipment have been vandalised and other equipment has been stolen,” he said, adding the station would be off air until further notice.

The incidents come just two days after a SABC TV crew were robbed of their equipment while covering protests in Alexandra.

Michael Currin, acting director general of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), said he was outraged by these criminal acts.

“We are appalled,” Currin told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE.

“Community media gets the voice of development into communities.”

Alex FM, which has served Alexandra for 27 years, is the voice of the people of Alex, he said.

GCIS also condemned the robbery of the SABC crew.

“We are equally livid that two days ago, a SABC news crew was robbed of their equipment while covering protests in Alexandra,” said Currin, adding that violence was not the answer to SA’s problems.

“SA media is a platform to amplify voices, facilitate meaningful participation and foster social change.

“We cannot destroy what we have worked so hard to build.”

TimesLIVE


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