Media Statement, 4 December 2014

Gagasi FM statement on the departure of Jacinta Ngobese and Shawa Biyela from the station

Gagasi FM has noted the concerns raised by some of our listeners mainly on our current affairs show, Indaba which airs between 18h00 and 19h00 from Tuesdays to Thursdays. The concerns have been regarding the recent departure of Shawa Biyela and Jacinta Ngobese from the station and seemingly based on misinformation which has been reported in the print media.

As a proudly KZN radio station, Gagasi FM always welcomes the listeners’ views and we would like to give them assurance that we do take their concerns seriously. Unfortunately there has been a lot of misrepresentation of facts from the side of the media when reporting on these issues which have generally resulted to a certain degree of misunderstanding about what really happened and why.

Gagasi FM has always maintained that matters arising between the station and staff members or Independent Contractors (ICs) are confidential and should be treated as such. The reason for this is to first respect whatever internal processes that may be pending in relation to a matter between the station and an employee or an IC.  On instances where the station and an employee or IC part ways, the station will openly confirm that and give clarity on whether it’s a termination of contract or employment, non-renewal of the expiring contract or a resignation. However the station would still not disclose the circumstances under which that have happened due to the confidential nature of these circumstances and the public image of those affected.

Gagasi FM has recently parted ways with Shawa Biyela who was a news reporter and Jacinta Ngobese who hosted the Fresh Start which airs between 04h00 and 06h00 weekdays. We would like to put it on record once again that Biyela resigned from the station and was not fired, as sensationally reported in some publications. We would also like to reiterate that the circumstances under which his resignation came about remain confidential and we are standing by this position despite the decision by Biyela to go to media about the matter which was not only unfortunate, but also demonstrated an attempt to present Gagasi FM as an unfair and uncaring employer.  Further to that it was in breach of a contractual obligation on his part to keep the matter confidential which we continue to respect in spite of his decision not to do so.

In the article published by Isolezwe ngeSonto on 16 November 2014, Mr Biyela is quoted as giving details of the charges that he said were brought against him by the station. The article also gives details of the transactions on his bank account during the time he was with the station.  He also makes mention of having to sleep at the taxi rank due to having to work late. In protecting Biyela’s image and his employability in the future, Gagasi FM is standing by its position not to disclose details around his resignation, something we would have expected Biyela to be the first person to understand and appreciate. It is however disappointing that both Biyela and the journalist who wrote the article appeared not to be aware that the figures that appear on one’s bank statement may not necessarily be a true reflection of a salary that a person earns, as there are various possible deductions that may be effected on an employee’s salary before any amount of money can reflect on their bank account. It is therefore very short sighted to conclude that the figures that were mentioned in the article reflect the salary that Biyela was earning from the station.  The Station has many staff members who work until late across a number of departments, and thus the Station has policies and procedures regarding the use of company vehicles for work purposes that make provisions for such.

With regard to the non-renewal of Jacinta’s contract, we would like to assure our listeners once again that a decision not to renew her contract was not taken lightly. Serious considerations were given in making this decision with factors including but not limited to;

  • performance of the show,
  • the direction that the station would like to take with that slot, given its strategic time channel as a build-up to the breakfast show,
  • our strategic goal of coaching and uplifting new talent
  • and retention of key talent.

The reasons mentioned above are amongst a number or reasons, some of which have nothing to do with Jacinta herself.  We once again express disappointment on the manner in which the media has been reporting on the matter. There is an attempt by some publications to suggest that Jacinta has been fired which is very misleading to the public. It’s not that the journalists don’t understand the difference between a dismissal and a contract that has expired, it’s all a continuation of a deliberate misrepresentation of facts with an aim of confusing the public and painting a negative picture of the station based on either false information or ignorance of the fact that Radio Stations are businesses which make business decisions which are sometimes not the most popular choices.
We would also like to put it on record that there is no single person within the station that takes such decisions alone, Programming has a team that oversee various aspects of the functioning of the Programmes Department and make recommendations where necessary and ultimately it’s the Station’s collective management that makes a final decision.

With that said, the Station has heard the views of the listeners on air and online and would like to assure the listeners that all decisions made by the Station regarding its programming always have the listener’s best interests at heart.  That might not seem like it at times, however the numbers in the long run always speak as the numbers are how people, including managers, keep or lose their job in the commercial radio world.  

The Station will also look at creating its own platforms to both disseminate our official standpoint on matters of concern, and to allow its listeners to raise concerns with us.  So we urge listeners to keep listening and be on the lookout online for further details on that.

Khulekani Shandu
PR Officer | Gagasi FM