Fri Jun 23 03:41:38 CAT 2017

SABC kicks sports vets to the curb

2017-06-19 10:47:57.0 | Aubrey Mothombeni |

The troubled SABC has this week permanently unplugged the microphones of four top sports presenters and analysts in the public broadcaster's biggest cull yet.

Veteran sports analysts David Kekana, Christopher Bongo and Coudjoe Amankwaa, as well as presenter Lindani Mbense, were given two weeks' notice and served with letters during a meeting on Wednesday.

Sunday World understands that the meeting was not short of drama as Kekana and Mbense refused to sign.

It is understood that the two sports broadcasters, who have each been with the SABC for more than 15 years, have threatened legal action.

As a result, Kekana has secured the services of former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba's lawyer Claudio Bolo to challenge the SABC's decision to fire him.

Kekana told Sunday World that his attorney had already furnished the public broadcaster with a letter stating their dissatisfaction with the decision.

"My matter is very complex and my lawyer Claudio Bolo of BBM Attorneys has written a letter to the SABC about the issue," Kekana said.

Mbense accused the SABC of kicking him in the teeth after serving the public broadcaster with "loyalty" for 16 years.

"Yes, I got a letter saying that the SABC will no longer be needing my services. I refused to sign it because it was just a three-line letter saying that I must hand over my access card on the 30th of June.

"I mean, after I worked for 16 years at the SABC, all they could do was to tell me that I must find another job in two weeks. That's not fair and it shows that the SABC does not value loyalty," said Mbense.

He said he was disturbed by the news because his family would be affected.

"How am I going to pay for my daughter's fees at varsity? I have a bond and a car to pay for. Ubuntu should have been applied and they should have given us at least two months' notice," said Mbense.

He said he felt betrayed because he had asked SABC group executive for sports Sully Motsweni last month if he still had a job at the public broadcaster but she never said anything to him. This after he was not booked for work throughout May.

"Sully said she was going to find out from my executive producer. Later on she said she would get HR to write me a letter. But when I asked her if it's a letter to fire me or to keep my job, she said nothing."

Mbense also said he was missing fired SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng during these difficult time because "he treated employees with respect".

"Hlaudi fought for his workers and he always said that people must have work and they must be paid . Look what is happening now that he is gone. If he was still around, as soon as I got the letter, I would have gone to his office."

Bongo also received a letter stating he would be unemployed from next month. "It says my contract expires at the end of June and they have no intentions of renewing it. I did not ask questions when I was given the letter." He said the letter came after he had not been on air for three months.

Amankwaa, however, denied he was given the boot by the public broadcaster.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: "The SABC has not fired anyone. The said people were informed by SABC sports that their contracts were coming to an end and therefore won't be renewed for operational reasons."

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