The Battle of the soul of The Voice of Matat Radio.

A battle of the soul of the Matatiele Community Radio Station, The Voice of Matat FM is looming between the founders of the community radio station. Some of the founders who are no longer serving in the station are bitter towards the current station Manager Mphumzi Mashalaba for claiming credit as the one who initiated the idea of the Radio station in Matatiele. These claims were published by small commercial newspaper a week ago. In the publication the dream for the radio station came out from a Taxi driver, Mphumzi Mashalaba from Kokstad then. He tells his story of moving up and down preparing for the opening of this radio station. “In 2013 I went to Gauteng looking for a licence at ICASA offices thereafter I approached more members to help me lodge a request. I collected 5000 signatures from the members of the community with the help of my colleagues at the Kokstad Taxi rank. In 2015 Mashalaba got a licence to open this radio station with the help of Mr Masinga of the Voice of Thembisa”, he said. Mashalaba continued by saying after receiving a licence he then got a financial assistance worth R2.3 million to build a studio worth R1.6m. The Radio station was officially opened in October 2018. All this was disputed by Mpumelelo Radebe who is from Zinyosini in Matatiele but currently staying in Dark City Location. He described Mashalaba as a liar who just became opportunistic. Radebe said a vision to open up a Community Radio Station in Matatiele came up with him. According to him the idea came up two years after serving at the Izwi Lomzantsi 98,0 in Durban. “There I was doing a programme called Ezothando on Weekends. “I was very open about this Idea to an extent that I would talk about it to whoever that has a potential . One day I was talking to Lehlonono Mofokeng about a Radio Presenter Kutloano Mavundla who was doing Mina Nawe (Lovers) programme at the Alfred Nzo Community Radio Station. I wanted to meet him and Mofokeng made plans for me to meet Mavundla who then was responsible for developing documents about the radio. “The other people I approached include Rev. Hlathuka, Lucky, Ntsodi and others. I also recruited sis Nolitha Magadla and Vukani Mkhuzo who are the current members of the board. It was me who visited traditional leaders to allow me to get signatures from their community members”, said Rhadebe. He said he managed to collect 3000 signatures so that he would be granted a licence. According to Radebe, Mashalaba was introduced to him by Nzwakie Motlatsie saying that he had love for radio then we accepted him. “In 2013 I had to go back to Durban to look for a job as I had run out of funds to sustain myself at that time I was dealing with Mr Ndondo at ICASA. Then I handed over documents to Mashalaba whom I thought was working with the team. In 2015 when the Voice of Matat was receiving licence Mashalaba phoned Radebe notifying him that they have received licence. Radebe came back in 2019 with hope that he will play a role in the growth of The Voice of Matat but Mashalaba is not allowing him to be back in the radio. During the interview Radebe was not alone but with Mavundla who also want to go back to the Radio. Mavundla showed a letter to The Informer date 24 February which was sent to Mashalaba. One of the things demanded in the letter is the reinstatement of the founding members as well as their acknowledgement and rekindling of the mission statement. Both Mavundla and Radebe described Mashalaba as a person who surrounds himself with jhaa baas people so that he cannot be challenged . On Tuesday The Informer sent a Whatsapp message to Mashalaba to get his side of the story but there was no response from him till the story was published. The informer also talked to a number of people to confirm Radebe’s claims three of those people confirmed that the Radio Idea was of Radebe.

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