At least four women, current and former staffers at Gauteng’s adult contemporary radio station Kaya FM, have accused station boss Greg Maloka of sexual harassment. Maloka voluntarily stepped down yesterday to allow for “a smooth and uninterrupted internal process and investigation” after the allegations surfaced.
The station’s managing director has also been accused of “fiduciary negligence, unethical governance practices, financial misconduct and mismanagement of company resources”.
An anonymous letter containing the allegations against Maloka has been doing the rounds after it was leaked on social media. It was also sent to the board of Kaya FM, chaired by Sizwe Mncwango, who is also the chief executive officer of its parent company, Thebe Investment Corporation.
The letter addresses the station’s alleged internal issues, which include “fiduciary negligence, unethical governance practices, financial and sexual misconduct, mismanagement of company resources and dealings in bad faith” by Maloka and his executive. It details allegations of the exploitation and the harassment of women staffers “in exchange for professional reward or advancement”.
“All the sexual harassment cases have been reported to [the] human resources [department], however, there were further interferences when circumstances allowed. [There is] professional discrimination against women staff [members] who do not reciprocate sexual advances. Victims do not want to come out because of further victimisation,” states the letter.
On Friday, City Press’ calls to Maloka for comment went unanswered and he did not responded to texts, WhatsApp messages or emails sent to him.
Mncwango confirmed that he had received the letter from an anonymous source, “the validity of which cannot be determined at this time”.
“Both Maloka as well as the board view these allegations in a very serious light. After a constructive discussion with the board, Maloka has volunteered to take a leave of absence to allow for a smooth and uninterrupted internal process, as well as to allow the investigation to run its full course.
“In Maloka’s absence, Kaya FM’s chief operating officer, Linda Reddy, will act as managing director,” said Mncwango.
He added that the board would “engage with management, staff and Kaya FM stakeholders as and when required”.
This week, four women – two former and two current employees at the station – spoke to City Press about Maloka’s alleged inappropriate behaviour.
The women claimed that the 46-year-old radio veteran allegedly gave women lingering hugs, whispered flattering comments into their ears and invited them to private meetings at luxurious hotels and restaurants.
A current staffer said the leaked letter had helped her to speak out about the alleged sexual misconduct she suffered at the hands of Maloka.
“When I joined Kaya FM several years ago, I realised that the culture of hugging has been normalised. When Greg walks into the office, he always hugs every woman in the room, but the hug is always inappropriate and uncomfortable,” she claimed, adding that he would sometimes touch them inappropriately on their shoulders behind them. “It is really uncomfortable.”
She claimed that her first encounter with Maloka was last year, when he hugged her inappropriately.
“It was a long squeeze that progressed to my cheek and my ears,” she said.
She added: “This is sad because it’s the men who decide if we fly or die. If he is helping you to grow, he is overprotective. But if you don’t do as he pleases, he will stop giving you first-class treatment and your perks would be revoked.”
Another former employee said she had always regarded Maloka as a brother.
“I remember he bought me a lavish gift for my baby shower. Suddenly, I was getting attention from him. In 2011, we had our first trip out of town, where, as the marketing and sales team and the management, we took our clients to the J&B Met [now known as the Sun Met] in Cape Town.
“We were all entertaining clients. We all ended up in my room drinking and everyone left my room. But a few minutes later, he called saying he was coming back to my room.
“I told him I was uncomfortable [with that], but he was persistent. I panicked and called a friend to come to my room so that I could have a witness if anything happened,” she claimed.
She alleged that when they got back to Johannesburg, Maloka was not happy with her.
“He was very upset with me and told me I thought I was better than everyone. From that day, he made my life a nightmare. When I reported the matter to my line manager, he questioned my integrity and failed to take it up.
“His concern was that Maloka would take business away from his company, which was a service provider to the business then. I had no choice but to resign,” she claimed.
A third woman, who is still working at the station, claimed: “It [Kaya FM] is a patriarchal environment. Unfortunately, women’s opinions are being side-lined.
“When we have staff meetings and when women overpower him with their opinions, Greg will come back with his entourage of men to overrule women’s opinions,” she alleged.
She described one incident at a conference last year where staff members were taught about how to report and deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.
“But, again, as women, we were not given an opportunity to address our challenges,” she claimed.
“Greg never gave us a chance to hear what was bothering us as women. Instead, he gave a moving speech and cried crocodile tears.”
She alleged that it was unfortunate that the station’s human resources department “has swept sexual harassment cases under the carpet, whether it’s against Maloka or any other male staffer simply because he runs to human resources”.
The former employee also claimed that another male colleague hugged her inappropriately, which made her feel unsafe at work.
“I remember when I shared my ordeal with colleagues, they said I should confront the perpetrator. I kept explaining the same story to the human resourced department and they did a dismal job at handling the matter,” she claimed.
She alleged that the man was instead asked to take leave and there were no other consequences. Two current women staffers said “things will unfold soon”, referring to the process that has been started by the owners of Kaya FM.
Maloka was instrumental in the success of YFM, a station focusing on the country’s young people, for almost a decade.