SABC Summer Song's missing 18,000 votes

The SABC Summer Song of the Year competition has been rocked by yet another scandal involving 18,000 uncounted votes cast on the Ukhozi FM line, a significant portion of this believed to be in favour of King Monada.

The votes were allegedly withheld by the SABC's sales department, which is led by Eugene Zwane, at the time organisers were reconciling the votes to determine the winner between King Monada, Master KG and Prince Kaybee. 

Sunday World saw e-mail conversations where organisers Michael Owen Productions (MOP) question Zwane about the missing votes.

The saga has left the organisers at loggerheads with the SABC over the exclusion of the 18,000 votes. The new details add more controversy to this competition after the announcement of Master KG as the winner caused much consternation at Thobela FM. The station received a huge backlash from fans who believed that the competition was rigged. Allegations of vote rigging are currently being investigated by the SABC.

It is believed that King Monada's team and the Limpopo Artist Movement are planning to launch a fresh bid to have the overall results annulled to allow for the uncounted votes to be considered.

Zwane confirmed to Sunday World that his department was the one that created the line for Ukhozi FM. He, however, said he was not the right person to speak on the matter.

"The people who should answer those questions are at Ukhozi FM. We only set up the line for the radio station."

A senior official said following complaints laid with the SABC by the Limpopo Artist Movement about the results, the organisers discovered that the SABC, in contravention of a contract signed with MOP, had created a separate SMS line for Ukhozi FM.

However, the SABC, according to the source, failed to hand over the results to the organisers to include in the total count. "The winner was announced without the 18,000 votes, majority of which were cast in favour of Monada," said the source.

These details were also confirmed by the Summer Song's project manager, Portia Ndlovu, who said the SABC failed to hand over the votes to them.

"We asked Eugene Zwane about the outstanding 18,000 votes but he ignored us since January after we became aware of them. He never wanted to meet us, and as such we only counted the votes which were cast on the lines created by us. The 18,000 votes did not benefit anyone and were not considered when deciding the current winner. We are not sure if they were going to make any material difference on the overall winner," she said.

But Mphoza Mashabela, chairperson of the Limpopo Artist Movement, said the latest information proves their long-held view that King Monada was the rightful winner.

"King Monada was robbed. The majority of those votes were supporting Monada. We have informed the SABC that those votes should be counted, and Monada must be declared the new winner and awarded the prize."

He said the movement also urged the organiser, Owen Ndlovu, to do the right thing and halt his scheduled award-giving ceremony planned for Thursday.

"We are not fighting with Master KG because he is also one of us, we just want fairness," Mashabela said.

Monada's manager Albert Makwela said they were aware of the latest information, but did not want to comment as they were still verifying it.

Master KG's record label Open Mic Productions' owner, Molao Rammalo, said they were unaware of the missing votes. "We are hearing this information for the first time but there appears [to be] too much negativity over Master KG's win."

Spokesperson for the SABC, Vuyo Mthembu, denied allegations of votes being withheld. "There is no truth to the allegation that 18,000 votes cast on the Ukhozi FM lines were not counted and included in the final tally that decided the overall winner of the competition."

Ukhozi FM had initially started its own station-based competition, however, when the SABC entered into an agreement with MOP, the station abandoned its own competition to be part of the competition.

Ukhozi FM listeners voted using the voting line of that competition provided by MOP.

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