HIS on-off romance with the SABC is one for the story books. At one point, things were so bad that Robert Marawa and the public broadcaster even broke up . . . But now that the two have kissed and made up, some aren’t happy!
In fact, Marawa is expected to return to the SABC on 1 August as the anchor of Metro FM’s evening sports show from 6pm to 7.30pm. The yet-to-be-named broadcast will be simulcast on Radio 2000 between 6pm and 7pm. But Marawa’s appointment has apparently ruffled some feathers, with SABC staffers said to be up in arms, especially after reports that he is set to rake in R7 000 a shift, which amounts to R35 000 a week and a monthly gross income of R140 000.
On Wednesday, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) called a staff meeting to discuss, among other matters, “salary negotiations, a R5 million freelance contract and sports and news” issues. According to the rumour mill Marawa, who agreed to a five-year deal with new SABC chief of operations Chris Maroleng, will walk away with a cool R1,6 million annually. And in five years, he stands to have raked in a whopping estimated R8,5 million.
The talented sports anchor, known to his fans as Madluphuthu, was introduced to staff by the chief of operations a fortnight ago at the auditorium of the SABC’s Henley Studio complex in Auckland Park, Jozi.
During the introduction, his direct competitor Thomas Mlambo allegedly staged a walk-out. Chris then went on to present Marawa to viewers on SABC News’ On Point segment this month, during which the SuperSport host excited the audience. According to insiders, Robert’s appointment follows his exit from Metro FM after staffers complained about him getting preferential treatment.
Said an informant: “There’s been many investigations happening at the SABC after human resources complained to the board that it never approved in signature Robert’s return to the public broadcaster. Chris overruled everyone responsible at the sports department and signed the presenter’s contract himself. Managers at the sports department want nothing to do with Marawa, and most of them are prepared to sign disclaimers that they want nothing to do with him.”
Insisted the second source: “Marawa will report directly to the chief operations officer, not the sports department’s managers like everyone else. This is undermining other line managers. Staff has been called one-by-one to testify on what really transpired. An external company is conducting the whole investigation.”
The third insider said some political parties had also condemned this matter.
“Part of the conditions in his contract are that his show won’t be affected on the Radio 2000 broadcast when there’s live cricket. This is a continuation of the days when Marawa would swing things in his favour whenever he wanted,” the informant said. “Radio 2000 is driven by sports, and cricket is their number one sport. Normal programming can stop as long as there’s a cricket game – T20 or even the ODI. For now, all sports people working at the SABC are angry. How do you expect a team of angry people to perform well?”
CWU deputy secretary Thabo Mogalane said Wednesady’s meeting aimed to give staffers feedback on salary negotiations.
“Marawa’s issue was raised on 18 June. Human resources told us there was an investigation into the matter, therefore we didn’t dwell much on it,” Thabo said.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the probe into Marawa’s return started two weeks ago.
Said Kaizer: “The reason the acting CEO instituted the investigation was because there were concerns from other staffers regarding the matter.”
According to Kaizer, a report would be sent to the CEO once investigations were concluded. “We’re not pre-empting anything. We’re just following the process. Once the CEO is satisfied, she’ll make the report public,” he said.
Marawa could not be reached for comment, he also failed to respond to our SMSes.