#BringBackUnathi - everything you need to know
Unathi Msengana (Instagram)
Johannesburg - Popular Metro FM DJ, Unathi Msengana has been off-air for three weeks now, following her suspension from the radio station.
The move came after Unathi lashed out at a fan, calling her a 'psycho b*tch'. The person then went on to social media and published all of the direct messages sent by Unathi. The furore emerged after Unathi brought up the topic of the Luister video, a short-film detailing alleged racism at Stellenbosch Universtiy.
Suspended by the SABC
The SABC suspended her with immediate effect, saying that while it can't control personal opinions of staff, when it impacts on the brand, action had to be taken.
Two days after the incident, Unathi apologised. In a carefully worded statement, she said that she regretted the words used to the woman in question. "I should not have used offensive language. I therefore wish to publicly apologise for my choice in language. Going forward, whilst I refuse to be bullied on Twitter about my opinions, I will use better judgement when using this platform."
About those rumours
It was reported over the weekend that the SABC is considering firing Unathi from the station. There were also reports that she had been suspended without pay.
Here's the facts
The SABC has said that it is in discussions with Unathi about the matter. Just like any other HR issue, this means that a lengthy process has to be followed. There are written documents that have to be sent out, followed by a time period to respond to those. After that, face-to-face meetings are held, where possible options are discussed.
Unathi is also a freelancer at the SABC, just like all of the other staff. It is a general rule that if you don't work, you don't get paid. So it's a normal situation that she is not getting paid.
Although Unathi is a freelancer, there is still a contract in place. These contracts are renewed on a yearly basis. However, they can be terminated should either party have a legitimate reason to want to leave. This means that the decision is not only in the SABC's hands, but also with Unathi. Simple explanation: they could want her to leave, but have to follow due process, or, in fact, it could be Unathi who wants out.
The SABC has told us that there is no idea of when this issue will be resolved, as both parties are still in discussions. In our minds, that doesn't bode well. While there is a lengthy process that has to be followed, most suspension cases are resolved very quickly and the DJ is usually on-air within days.