'Rami imposed on Thobela FM'
The appointment of The Queen protagonist Rami Chuene as a presenter on Thobela FM has allegedly caused ructions between station manager Moshongwa Matsena and SABC general manager for public broadcasting services Leuba Ramakgolo.
Four independent sources - three of them senior SABC officials and one a close ally of Matsena - alleged the station boss complained to them that Ramakgolo, the station's former manager, had stripped her of her powers.
This after he allegedly imposed Chuene as well as retired presenter Rudolph Letsoalo, former Vuma FM presenter Mathumo Manaka and producer Andrew Matopela on the station.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago denied the allegations. "Both parties have denied the allegations and have indicated that all processes were followed in the same way as all other on-air personalities.
"All the on-air personalities' contracts were negotiated and concluded by the station manager and the programmes manager without any influence," he said.
However, a senior SABC official who did not want to be named because he is not allowed to speak to the media, said Matsena was running an advert on the station to recruit new talent between the ages of 35 and 40 when Ramakgolo allegedly instructed her to employ radio novice Chuene to present their jazz show on Sundays.
He also allegedly ordered her to employ Letsoalo, who retired recently, to present the Sunday gospel show A Re Tumisheng Morena.
The official also alleged that Ramakgolo made Matsena to employ Manaka against her will to present the morning breakfast show although she argued that Manaka was Venda and his command of Sepedi was poor.
"She complained that Manaka has never, in his entire radio career, presented a show in any vernacular.
"He also imposed Matopela on her, and this resulted in staff members disrespecting her because they think she doesn't have the powers anymore," said the official.
The official also said Matsena was eyeing Paul Rapetsoa to present the gospel show but Ramakgolo insisted that Letsoalo be appointed because he had just retired from the station. "She argued that Letsoalo is almost 70 years of age and would not add any value to the station," said the employee.
A former newsreader at Thobela FM who is close to management also alleged that Ramakgolo gave the station manager an ultimatum to implement his instruction and threatened not to renew her contract when it expires next year if she defied him.
"He told her to hire Rami and when she asked if Rami knew anything about radio, he just said she must do as he says, otherwise next year is coming," said the source.
The former newsreader also claimed that the station's programmes manager, Florina Sebola, was also aggrieved by Ramakgolo's alleged interference as she was sidelined in the appointment of the new talent.
Another senior station employee also alleged that Sebola asked Matsena why she was sidelined from the appointment of the new talent. "The station manager said she was just following instructions," said the senior employee.
However, another employee rubbished the allegations of Ramakgolo's interference. "The station manager and the programme's manager approached him and suggested that Chuene be part of the line-up.
"He told them it would be problematic because she was the face of The Queen and thus is seen as a rival because the telenovela is aired on Mzansi Magic, which is a competitor of the SABC.
"But Leuba went to the board and convinced it to allow them to hire her," said the worker.
He also said Matsena and Sebola asked for his input on who should host their breakfast show. "Because he had Manaka's demo, he gave it to Matsena and Sebola, who after listening to it appointed him. The same applies about Letsoalo and Matopela," the employee said.
Chuene refused to comment yesterday.