By Hileni Nembwaya
THE Katutura community radio trust Base FM management is accused of being in a desperate state after the board made a drastic decision to appoint a cleaner, Patricia Du Plessis as acting station manager recently.
According to sources that prefer to remain anonymous, Du Plessis was appointed acting station manager after the former station manager, Marco Ndlovu and two board members resigned due to disagreements with the board chairman, Kaezembua Matundu over money issues.
Du Plessis has been a cleaner at the station for several years and she apparently has no educational qualifications and lacks experience in media or management work.
“We believe that there is a plan to permanently appoint Du Plessis alongside her acquaintance, a certain Elsabe Tibinyane (also with no prior experience in media or management) in the management positions at Base FM, using the same dubious methods used by the board chair to permanently appoint the outgoing manager and the dangers that the cycle will start all over again,” said the sources.
“There was a plan to get rid of the staff members that were most vocal about mismanagement at Base FM when their contracts expired on 28 February, this year. Despite the staff members still working at Base FM, their contracts have not been renewed and all Base FM employees are working without any contracts or documented agreements.”
Ndlovu handed in his resignation last month after serving the station for more than eight years.
“I would like to also let you know that the board is working on finding a replacement for me and Du Plessis will be acting manager until further notice. I therefore appeal to you to support her unconditionally,” states Ndlovu in his resignation letter in possession of Confidente.
When contacted for comment, Du Plessis referred all questions to Matundu. “I cannot comment on anything. Please contact the board chairman,” she said. Matundu who is said to be behind the ‘dubious’ appointment, and has been the station’s chairman since 2012, ignored all questions put to him.
“I cannot hear you. I think the network is bad this side. Please call me back later,” said Matundu.
Among other concerns, the station is also allegedly faced with a breakdown in communication between employees and the trustees, and abuse of the station’s petty cash as well as donor funding in terms of money and equipment by the outgoing station manager and the board of trustees.
“There is lack of transparency in Base FM financial matters, with the board chairman constantly taking loans from the trust’s account, despite the deed clearly stipulating that trustees should not gain financially or materially from the activities of the trust. The outgoing station manager unduly awarding himself commissions for unknown business transactions and payments to people rendering non-existent services to the station,” said the sources.
The Katutura community-based radio station is currently one of the biggest radio stations in the country.
It was founded in 1995 to give a voice to the people in the areas it broadcasts in, find a common solution to their challenges while also sharing their success stories, as well as to entertain and give opportunities to youngsters that are willing and talented enough to enter the media industry.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015