Saturday, November 4, 2023

Moja Love cuts legal aid to murder-accused Xolani Khumalo as his foundation got ‘enriched by proceeds of crime’.

by Thinus Ferreira

After finally distancing itself on Friday from its now-notorious former vigilante justice TV presenter Xolani Khumalo who stands accused of murder and cutting off its legal aid to him, the South African tabloid television channel Moja Love (DStv 157) late on Friday night said Sizok'thola isn't cancelled but will get a new presenter while alluding that Khumalo's foundation with unknown beneficiaries allegedly benefitted from "the proceeds of crime".

After firing him, Moja Love will now no longer pay for legal support for Xolani Khumalo in his alleged torture and murder case. 

Sizok'thola is however not cancelled, with the show becoming the latest on Moja Love's schedule line-up which will be undergoing a presenter change following a real-life scandal, while the production gets retooled to "strengthen its procedures".

The latest controversy engulfing Moja Love stems from the death of an alleged drug dealer who died during the filming of an episode of Sizok'thola in Katlehong in July.

The Siyaya TV-run channel - notorious for tabloid local programming that constantly pushes the edge but that results in massive South African TV ratings - found viewership success with Sizok'thola fronted by Xolani Khumalo who became a television hero until the alleged TV torture and murder revelations shocked Moja Love executives and the viewing public. 

Xolani Khumalo is accused of murder and will appear in court in 2024 over allegations that he and a vigilante gang involved in the production of Sizok'thola tortured the man to death to elicit confessions of guilt for the show, that hunts alleged drug dealers and corrupt community citizens.

Xolani Khumalo couldn't be reached late on Friday night following Moja Love's statement but comment will be added here when received.

After saying on Friday afternoon that Moja Love had decided to dump Khumalo and will no longer work or support him - meaning that Moja Love will no longer be on his side in his upcoming murder case - Moja Love on Friday night said that it decided to split with the controversial presenter "after raising concerns and questioning him about his knowledge and involvement in the unlawful incidents that led to the possible contamination of crime scenes, failed prosecutions of known drug lords and unfortunate tragedies that followed the filming of certain episodes".

Moja Love spokesperson Nonzwakazi Cekete says the channel also demanded answers regarding the identities of the beneficiaries of his Xolani Khumalo Foundation which he launched off the back of
Sizok'thola's success "despite the blatant conflict of interest it created between him and the show".

"Moja Love has always been cautious to ensure that it abides by the strict letter of the law. To this end, the channel continues to work closely with the South African Police Service to ensure that no person enriches themselves from the proceeds of crimes which are perpetuated by greedy individuals masquerading as non-profit organisations."

Moja Love says it became clear that the channel's relationship with Xolani Khumalo "had permanently broken down when he could not provide the channel with satisfactory answers to its questions and
when further information, which the channel is not at liberty to disclose at this stage, came to light".

"The channel had been providing legal and financial support to Xolani Khumalo prior to the termination and it will continue to foster an environment of integrity, trust and respect," Moja Love says.

"Xolani Khumalo's claims that he was not formally informed of the termination are false and untruthful. He was duly informed by the channel's management but failed to respond. As a channel, we cannot turn a blind eye to reports of injuries or death during filming of any of our shows and we eagerly await the outcome of the legal case that is currently in court."

According to Moja Love, the channel "has decided not to comment any further on sensitive issues in order to have due respect to culture and to show respect to the families of those who may have been affected as we wait for the law to take its course."

"Moja Love remains steadfast in wanting to create content like Sizok'thola in order to rid our society of drug dealers roaming the streets and killing the future of our country," the TV channel says.

Moja Love says that Sizok'thola "has not been cancelled but has been paused so that the channel can strengthen its procedures and authority to avoid any further unfortunate incidents or loss of lives".