I’m not aware of their grievances, FS Motheo FM manager claims

Motheo FM station manager, Manko Buffel. Photo: Seithati Semenokane

The station manager of the troubled local community station, Motheo FM in Bloemfontein, claims to know nothing about the troubles of radio presenters and news readers. In a written response to Bloemfontein Courant, Manko Buffel says she only heard about the strike and their grievances on air yesterday morning.

Presenters told Bloemfontein Courant that among some of their grievances against Buffel and her team is the fact that they are yet to receive their December bonuses, the lack of quality sanitation and fair treatment by management.

However, Buffel says they have in the past two years paid these presenters an additional amount as and when the financial situation allowed them to do so. She adds presenters were paid an additional amount as a token of appreciation in 2016 and in 2018.

“Staff members were paid salaries a week earlier than normal, on December 18th,”  Buffel says. She claims her hands are tied and she has no authority to remove or even fire the managers because they are permanent appointments. “If a team member has not performed as per the agreement, that is supposed to be dealt with procedurally. I am not empowered to just remove a permanent employee without the process. It will be illegal of me to do so,” Buffel says.

The presenters allege that the office of the Free State Premier, Sisi Ntomebela, recently made a contribution to the station’s financial coffers, but they are yet to see any positive results emanating from that contribution. According to Buffel however, contrary to the allegations the station has not yet received any money that was pledged by the office of the premier to the station.

She says she has done everything possible in her power to try and have effective communication with the presenters.

“We held a programming summit on the 9th of November and staff also used the platform to design best practices.” She says the presenters were required to submit their written contributions in the hopes of improving programming strategy but three weeks have now elapsed without any response from the angry presenters.– Lucky Nkuyane