Lukhanji FM off air over licence debacle


Radio station opens case

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has suspended Lukhanji FM from the air for the next three months after it allegedly missed its licence renewal deadline.

However, Lukhanji station manager Andrew Joe blames Icasa for having given the radio station the incorrect deadline and said a case had been opened against Icasa in the Grahamstown High Court.

Joe said none of this would have happened had the correct date been issued.

“The licence expired in December 2018, but in the correspondence they said it would be due for renewal in June 2019, which was incorrect.

“It should have read December 2018. We feel hard done by. Icasa should have taken other remedial steps if we were not compliant. They went for the worst case scenario.”

Joe produced a letter written to Icasa’s Thabo Ndlovu and Katlego Seanego in July in which he requested the licensing department of broadcasting services to grant Lukhanji FM a lifeline.

In the meantime, to retain the listeners of Komani and to honour the contracts with advertisers, the station manager said the radio station would be moving to an online platform.

“We will install devices for people to live stream without charge. They can tune in to Lukhanji FM online for a few months.

Among other issues, he was greatly dissatisfied with the current board which he said was practically running the radio station, thereby limiting his managerial functions.

He said he had to go via the board for the simplest matters.

“I am not sure if the board will remain for the next term. They were in charge of this and I only found out too late.

“We have written a letter expressing our opinion that they should vacate their positions, and for us to start the process of appointing a new board. This will require a lot of effort and public involvement.”

An email was sent and phone calls made to Icasa’s spokesperson, Paseka Maleka, but she could not be reached for comment.

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