Saturday, July 8, 2017

Fired Metro FM sportscaster Robert Marawa slams 'crazy, wrong-doing' SABC executives; says truth will come out, that there's lots of unhappy people at the SABC.

The fired veteran sportscaster Robert Marawa who got sacked by the SABC from his Metro FM show in the week without being told directly after he stood up for his suspended producer is calling out the SABC's "crazy" and "wrong-doing" executives.

He told Power FM in a radio interview that the truth will come out and that there's a lot of unhappy people at the SABC.

In the week the SABC's latest head of sport Sully Motsweni and the acting general manager for radio Orapeleng Lethebe fired the veteran sportscaster Robert Marawa who has been doing the hugely popular Sports@6 show on Metro FM, and said in a statement that the SABC "wishes him well".

The beleaguered and cash-strapped SABC that no longer has a head of radio and is awaiting yet another government bail-out, then admitted that it didn't tell Robert Marawa directly that he was fired, with SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago claiming that the SABC couldn't get hold of him.

Three weeks ago Robert Marawa refused to return to his Metro FM show out of solidarity after what he called the unfair suspension of his radio show producer Beverly Maphangwa for including a short comment from a sports commentator in the show - something that presenters are allowed to do.

The SABC then sent Robert Marawa a letter saying he has to give reason why he shouldn't be fired for failing to show up for work.

Robert Marawa who also works as a sportscaster or pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice and its SuperSport media outfit had to find out from other SABC staffers that he was abruptly fired this week when they got a company-circulated internal email and they in turn told him.

"SABC Sport came through from the beginning of June and took over the running of the show as opposed to Metro FM running the show," Robert Marawa told the Power FM radio station in an interview on Friday, explaining the bizarre circumstances around his firing from the SABC.

"It suddenly became SABC Sport now in charge of all sports on all radio stations, including Metro FM".

"I did say as long as you guys don't interfere with the editorial of the show, I don't have a problem with this new plan that you guys have. But it didn't take long for it to really surface that it was about the editorial that was the key factor," said Robert Marawa.

"So somebody who is coming in, who's new with a set agenda, can't come through and tell me - especially if they don't have a background in broadcasting, they've got a background in telling TV presenters what to wear on weekends, and you've been in marketing and you've been doing all of these things - and then all of a sudden you feel you've got the power to come through and tell us that."

"So they have trumped up charges against Bev, suspended her. But they never ever had a hearing for her. She never went for a disciplinary hearing to say 'charge 1'."

"So they suspended her, never charged her, I took myself off air and then as a result I'm now charged with withdrawing my services. But I withdrew my services, notifying them I'm not coming through."

"Then yesterday they reinstated her, but never mentioned any of the two charges that she had so-called broken within the SABC."

'These guys are crazy'
Robert Marawa told Power FM that "my lawyer actually laughed at the charges and said these guys are crazy, and crazy they are. And that is why with sober minds we will approach it in a manner where South Africans will be able to see what has gone on here. I'm not fighting to get my job back. It's not about that."

"We will be able to present a very clear case of why the public has been duped and why after I had gone to the SABC interim board myself, David Kekana and a whole group of people have gone and approached SABC board deputy chairperson Mathata Tsedu, Krish Naidoo in the presence of acting chief operating officer (COO) Bessie Tugwana".

Robert Marawa said they mentioned to the SABC's interim board the "shenanigans" that Sully Motsweni "is committing as we speak who has been in charge of SABC Sport and it has to do with money, and it has to do with wrong-doing".

Robert Marawa told Power FM that she was in the meeting that was held during the week "recused themselves, said they're going to Sandton, but ultimately came back into the meeting to then say to everybody 'Robert has got to go - immediately', which was her call".

He said "people mustn't read and then fall prey to the lies that these people are bringing forward".

'When people are doing wrong, you shouldn't be scared'
Robert Marawa slammed the SABC for the public broadcaster's apparent lack of support to on-air talent.

"Unfortunately there, the more you succeed, and the more you bring in the numbers, the more people fall in love with your work, the more the people that are running the show - the administrators - and some of the ones who made this decision are in acting positions, imagine taking such a drastic decision from someone who is in an acting position," said Robert Marawa.

"When it comes to support, it's funny how when you get to a level of excellence in what you do, then the people around you tend not to support you," he said.

"The reason why I speak openly about this and I don't really fear anybody about this, is because it's the public broadcaster. It belong to the public. So when they go for bail-outs after they've chowed the money ... it's your money as a public broadcaster".

"When people are doing wrong, you shouldn't be scared," said Robert Marawa. "A lot of people are unhappy there [at the SABC] but they'll keep quiet".

"I stand my ground because you can't fear anybody. Rather starve in dignity than eat in shame."