Black First Land First has come to the understanding that ICASA a body that is suppose to take care of the broadcasting agency and given a task to regulate and issue out licences has made a drastic move and decideded to pull the plug on Radio Zibonele Fm a burgeoning community radio station in Khayelitsha in iLitha Park. The Radio is known to have a large and faithful following with a staff of 64 people who are employed at the station and other programs the station offers to young unemployed people.
Since 2018 it seems the Radio station has operated under a cloud of anxiety and dread owing to the licence not being issued. Even though that drawback persisted the staff to continue to work tirelessly in that exasperating condition uncertainty.
It has come to our attention that iCASA has given Radio Zibonele 7 days to close down the station. We are of the view that this evil and draconian measure is unnecessary and mindless in a country that is faced with unemployed, poverty and recession. Khayelitsha is one of the crime ridden areas in the country and stations like Radio Zibonele must aide in the changing of minds of our masses and show a different path to the youth.
It’s closure will be an addition to the social neglect and pressure the listeners already experience. ICASA has to be sound and rational when it makes decisions on licencing as the withholding of licencing has negative effects on communities wherein these small and community radio station are located in.
We hope that the licensing challenge has not been exacerbated by the recent Rev Baleni sage shaniangans. Our view is that the workers of Radio Zibonele ought to not to be punished by the authorities for factional battles and power wrestling at the expense of the workers who are just feeding their families. We implore ICASA to do right by Radio Zibonele and its faithful listeners and workers who form part of the community by reversing the unjust decision to close down a growing and interesting radio station on the calibre of Zibonele.
If we are going to save media from corporate capture and misinformation we must start by saving community radio station that are on the ground shielding our people from ignorance. Therefore as BLF we call for the licence to be given by ICASA and the jobs to be spared. Also it is our considered view as BLF that community radio station of the kind like Zibonele ought to have a board and leadership that is not easily swayed by the ruling party and its unending factional battles and the workers must always protest their jobs by not entertain any squabbles.
Issued by Black First Land First, National Coordinating Committee (NCC)
15 July 2022
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