Unathi suspended

2012-10-14 10:00
Gabisile Ndebele
DJ suspended after crossing swords with boss

Idols judge and MetroFM breakfast co-host Unathi Msengana is in trouble with the public broadcaster.

The media personality has been suspended indefinitely and gagged from speaking to the media after utterances about the SABC landed her in hot water.

She has been off air since earlier this week.

According to a source at the SABC, Msengana tested the patience of MetroFM’s station manager, Martin Vilakazi, when she was quoted in a Sowetan report speaking about being banned from interviewing Idols winner Khaya Mthethwa on her popular slot.

In the story, Msengana is quoted as saying: “This morning (last week Wednesday) an instruction was personally given to me by my station manager not to interview Khaya. No explanation was given. I had to obey and ask no questions because he is my boss.”

The City Press source said: “Martin and Unathi don’t see eye to eye because he has come to MetroFM and basically changed all the rules about what each show can and cannot do. Since Unathi is very vocal about what she wants, there is loads of tension between them.”

On Friday, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “Msengana has not been suspended. She was just not scheduled to be on the show. Since she is contracted to the SABC as a freelancer, she breached the terms of her contract that stipulate that no employee can discuss SABC matters with the media,” he said.

Kganyago revealed to City Press that 5FM’s Gareth Cliff – who was also on the Idols judging panel – and Msengana had sent emails to their station managers requesting permission to interview the winner, but the requests were denied.

“This had nothing to do with Khaya. We just didn’t want Unathi and Gareth to be the ones interviewing contestants because we don’t have a cross-promotion agreement with M-Net,” he said.

But according to our source, there is more to this than just the Idols issue. “Unathi has a strained relationship with Martin.

They just don’t get along. There have been instances before where they have butted heads – like the time she interviewed the DA’s Helen Zille and Lindiwe Mazibuko. Martin felt Unathi was promoting her Cape Town Tourism ambassadorship.”

This would not be the first time Msengana’s relationship with a station manager has made headlines. While working for Yfm in 2006, she was suspended by then station manager Bondo Ntuli for refusing to work on Women’s Day.

It is unsure when Msengana will be back on air. At the time of going to press, Vilakazi had not replied.

» The headline of this article incorrectly said: “Unathi dismissed”. It was corrected after publication.