Kaya FM whistle-blowers say they are being victimised

What happens at Kaya FM when you blow the whistle on the radio station’s top management alleged misconduct? You are victimised, harassed or forced to quit. 

This is according to former and current employees at the Gauteng-based radio station who told the Mail & Guardian, on the basis of anonymity, that whistle-blowers face systemic harassment and victimisation if they dare speak out against unethical conduct. 

Over the weekend, City Press reported that four women had accused the station’s managing director, Greg Maloka, of sexual harassment. The women detail how Maloka would allegedly give them “lingering hugs” or invite them to dine with him in private hotel rooms and restaurants. Women at the station who declined his sexual advances would be victimised  and those who allowed sexual “favours” were rewarded with promotions or bonuses, the report states. 

Maloka has taken a leave of absence while investigations into his conduct are ongoing. 

“We are asking sources to not cause waves” a message sent to the M&G this week reads. “It’s just not safe,” the message continues. 

Another anonymous source, who previously worked at Kaya FM, told the M&G: “Don’t be surprised when they [Kaya FM management] start threatening you or going directly to your boss to try to get the story buried.” 

The allegations against Maloka and others are contained in an open letter released last month and addressed to the chief executive of Thebe Investment Corporation (which owns Kaya FM), Sizwe Mncwango, and Kaya FM shareholders. The letter alleges that Maloka and the station’s financial director, Trevor Mwale, misused company credit cards to fund personal trips and benefit their associates. 

The letter also alleges that those close to Maloka were rewarded with bonuses or promoted to senior positions “without merit or qualification for the position based on their personal relationships and standing with the MD”.

In a statement, Mncwango said, “After a constructive discussion with the board, Maloka has volunteered to take leave of absence to allow for a smooth and an uninterrupted internal process to allow the investigation to run its full course.” Kaya FM’s chief operating officer Linda Reddy will act as managing director.

The M&G is in possession of another letter written by a former employee of Kaya FM and addressed to the station’s management, who claims he was victimised for speaking out against misconduct and discriminated against for being a foreign national.

The former employee also alleges that a few years ago, two women who leaked information to the media regarding Maloka’s involvement in alleged sexual misconduct were unceremoniously fired. When he, too, tried to release information regarding Maloka’s involvement in sexual misconduct, Maloka “sent an email to staff telling them not to communicate to me exactly what happened”. No one has been fired, but those who spoke to City Press are worried about future reprisals.

The former employee says the station should investigate, among others, the following: 

  • whether or not Maloka used Instant Grass International (a company affiliated to Maloka) to conduct trend surveys for the radio station;
  • Maloka’s alleged involvement in hiring close associates; 
  • Kaya FM’s business relationship with Madlosi Entertainment, where Maloka is registered as a director; and
  • whether or not certain companies were given preferential treatment with regards to advertising at the station.

“Kaya FM’s Procurement Doc and Addendum form clearly states that no employee/former employee of Kaya FM, his/her relatives/ friends and/or any acquaintances must duly benefit directly or indirectly in its business dealings,” the letter reads. 

The letter was sent to the station’s management in December but the former employee claims that “nothing has been done so far”. 

The M&G understands that the Kaya FM board met this week to discuss the allegations of misconduct by the station’s top management. While the outcomes of the meeting remain unclear, Mncwango said that the board will respond “proactively and transparently as and when there are further developments”. 

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Thando Maeko
Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian

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