Community radio station Alex FM’s listener’s forum seeks the help of residents to reclaim the station that has allegedly been hijacked by the current board, Alex News reports.
Chairperson of the forum Jimmy Masingi said the station’s current board, led by Pam Mallela, did not comply with regulations set by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
“According to Icasa regulations, the board was supposed to serve the community for two years, but it has been almost four years now and they are still here,” Masingi said.
He alleged that the board which, according to him was elected illegally, did not call annual general meetings to inform the community of the station’s progress.
“The community does not know what the current situation with the community is, and we cannot let that happen.”
Masingi said the station’s finances were in a shambles, with staff being paid salaries from the treasurer’s personal account.
He added the station’s Icasa profile was outdated. “We found that they are still using the old address in 2nd Avenue and that board members on Icasa’s files are not the current ones.
“Currently two station managers have passed, but the profile has not been updated.”
Masingi also said that financial statements of the station have not been made available to the community. “There is no transparency and if we are not aware, we will lose our station.”
The forum’s spokesperson, Jethro Mokoena, said the station was not in good standing. “During our meeting with the board last year, we raised allegations of fraternisation among staff members and we were assured that an investigation would be launched, but we have not even heard of the outcomes.”
He said the board slowed the growth of the station and performance of the staff. “These things worry us. Such things make us wonder who is really responsible for taking the station forward.”
He wanted the board to call an AGM so that people can find out what the status of the station was.
Mallela could not comment on the allegations as she was in the Eastern Cape with the African National Congress, preparing for the party’s 106th birthday celebrations.
Bongane Mandita, the treasurer of the board, refused to comment on the allegations and said the board would do so at an AGM scheduled for 27 January at 9 am at San Kopano community hall.
“I urge everyone to attend the AGM and learn about the current status of the station,” Mandita said. He said the board was not elected by the forum, but by the community of Alex.
“Community members need to attend the AGM to get clarity on the allegations and even raise issues they might have with the station.”
Icasa did not respond to an enquiry sent by Alex News on the allegations.