Power FM has confirmed the indefinite suspension of JJ Tabane, following the radio host’s apology to Zondo commission witness Phumla Williams on his show last week.
In a statement released by Power FM on Wednesday, the radio station said that Tabane’s admission “deviated from the show format” by using the show to ventilate his personal matters, a fact that Power FM views in “a serious light”.The radio station revealed that Tabane’s suspension had to do with allegations “raised within the context of the ongoing debate around State Capture, linking him to alleged improper conduct emanating from his association with former Minister Faith Muthambi”.
The statement added that Tabane had failed to make a “full disclosure of all material facts” pertaining to his ties to Muthambi, which were first raised during a public spat with political commentator Chris Vick.
Tabane was suspended from the radio station after he dedicated the introduction of his show to apologising to Williams, who testified before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture that she had been unfairly treated by Muthambi in her capacity at the helm of government communication and information system (GCIS).
Last Monday Williams also alleged that Muthambi had attempted to destabilise GCIS in an attempt to create the conditions under which procurement processes could be flouted.
During Williams’ testimony, Tabane tweeted: “FAITH Muthambi …this is a horror story.”
FAITH Muthambi …this is a horror story.
— Onkgopotse JJ Tabane (@JJTabane) September 3, 2018
Vick questioned Tabane’s reaction to the acting GCIS head’s testimony. He tweeted: “But you used to work for #faithmuthambi when she was communications minister, bro. Didn’t you set up that huge advisory panel for her (the one I resigned from) and write those ridiculous opinion pieces in her name? Weren’t you advising her? #StateCaptureInquiry @Powerfm987.”
But you used to work for #faithmuthambi when she was communications minister, bro. Didn’t you set up that huge advisory panel for her (the one I resigned from) and write those ridiculous opinion pieces in her name? Weren’t you advising her? #StateCaptureInquiry @Powerfm987 https://t.co/UDTIi8fwaH
— Chris Vick (@chrisvick3) September 3, 2018
Power FM invited Tabane and Vick to clear the air on Thabiso Tema’s show on Tuesday.
On the show, Vick alleged that Tabane was central to Muthambi’s communication machine.
“I didn’t say I didn’t know about it, I didn’t say that somehow I was surprised or anything of that nature,” Tabane responded.
Vick claimed that Tabane’s company was paid more than R1-million to provide secretarial services to the National Communications Trust, which he said was complicit in state capture. He said the trust was an alternative communications think tank with a mandate “to destroy GCIS”.
“Muthambi has emerged from several years ago as a key person in that state capture process and I think it was pretty clear what the object was. It was to try to break down an existing communications structure which was neutral and to put in place something which probably accounts more closely to a political principle,” Vick said.
According to Power FM’s statement, station manager Bob Mabena asked Tabane to attest to the veracity of the allegations levelled against him by Vick.
Tabane assured Mabena that he had made full disclosure of all material facts pertaining to the matter, reads the statement.Nevertheless, last Wednesday “without prior warning to and approval from the station manager, programme manager or executive producer”, Tabane deviated from the show format and dedicated the introduction of the show to his personal matters, reads the statement.
On the show Tabane extended an apology to Williams for his conduct, which he attributed to his then ambition and interests as well as those of Muthambi.“In light of all these developments, POWER 98.7 considered it prudent to suspend Mr JJ Tabane’s hosting of POWER Perspective, whilst it considers the implications of his conduct,” the station said. “It is our desire that this matter be resolved expeditiously and POWER 98.7 will communicate its final position to the listeners and the public soon.”
On Wednesday Tabane told IOL that he had not received the suspension in writing.
“I was told I was suspended following the apology I gave to Phumla Williams on my show last week,” he said. “They need to think about what it means for the business.”According to IOL Tabane said he did not know how long he would be off air but was told by management that his matter would be assessed at the end of the week. — Additional reporting by Lawrence Mashiyane