NEWS

Jacaranda FM's Tumi Morake And Martin Bester To Appear Before The Broadcasting Complaints Commission Over On-Air Comments About Apartheid

The hearing has been set for October 18 after a backlash from listeners of the radio station.

03/10/2017 12:19 SAST | Updated 03/10/2017 12:27 SAST
Jacaranda FM

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission hearing concerning alleged misconduct by Jacaranda FM breakfast show hosts Tumi Morake and Martin Bester will take place on October 18.

The commission received a number of complaints about the pair between September 12 and 14 following comments made by Morake.

Reflecting on South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy, Morake said that "apartheid was about the oppression of black people".

She said all race groups were just expected to unite after the demise of apartheid without any form of retribution, and made the analogy that would anger many white, Afrikaans-speaking listeners:

"It's like a child whose bicycle was taken forcefully away from him and then you say to the bully, 'no, no, no, share the bike together, don't be like that," she said.

Trade union Solidarity launched the #TooFarTumi campaign and handed over a memorandum to Jacaranda FM.

"We think [Tumi] Morake misused the platform... You can't say you are a DJ and then speak in your personal capacity on a radio station on a morning show with your name [sic], it does not work like that," Solidarity researcher Connie Mulder said.

The union was granted the opportunity to have a meeting with Jacaranda FM management, as well as Morake and Bester, in an attempt to solve the matter.

But the parties could not reach a resolution and Solidarity said it would have to agree to disagree.

Bester, who is also a singer, went on to support Morake publicly, which led to Jacaranda FM listeners' anger towards him.

Promoters at Elephant Bull Sports Bar in Lephalale then cancelled his show, saying he was surrounded by "too much controversy".

"We had to cancel the show due to negative hype by people... It has everything to do with Jacaranda FM," the bar's marketing manager, Gerhardt Theron, told HuffPost SA at the time.

Theron said the decision to scrap the performance was made because of requests from punters who did not want Bester to perform. "It's not us saying screw you Martin Bester, it's the people."

Boikot Jacaranda group organiser Mariaan Knox started a Facebook page to boycott the station as it was the "only way for us to successfully voice our grievances".

This first boycott group led to another Facebook page that has attracted about 29,000 people to date.

"I think I talk not only for myself, but for the majority of South Africans. There [are] double standards in this country regarding voicing racial issues," she said.

Jacaranda has supported Morake throughout the incident and explained that her comments were not racist.

"In short, [Morake's comment's] are not racist and do not constitute hate speech as has been alleged," station manager Kevin Fine said in a letter to advertisers.

This was after Pretoria-based furniture company Eric Barnard Furnishers confirmed it had pulled advertising worth R100,000 from the station, citing Morake's so-called offensive utterances towards white people as its reason.

Managing director Marius Barnard said the company would not be advertising with the station because it "gets involved with politics and mixes it with business".

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