On Wednesday Linda Sibiya (Mr Magic) held a press conference at the Durban City Hall, where he was expected to reveal the reason(s) for his dismissal from uKhozi FM. There was great anticipation for the conference since it had been reported that Mr Magic would reveal the station’s dark secrets. Last week he had said Bonga Mpanza, the station manager, knew why he fired him. However, many people were disappointed when he did not give juicy details about the station’s internal affairs at the conference. Many questions still remain unanswered.
Nevertheless, the conference brought several facts to light. One of them is that Mr Magic was not fired for supporting the ANC. When the news about Mr Magic’s dismissal broke last week, it was speculated that he was fired because of his support for the the ruling party. Later it was rumoured that he had conflicts with the station’s management. Lastly, it was reported that he was facing charges of corruption.
According to the information we have so far, we believe that the charges of fraud and corruption for which Mr Magic is being investigated are the main reason for his axing.
Mr Magic’s company, Magic Communications allegedly received a sponsorship of R1.8 million from Edcon, apparently using the name of the SABC to deceitfully encourage Edcon to sponsor them. Edcon sponsored them under the impression that they were working in collaboration with the SABC. Magic Communications was supposed to use the money to organize an event to honour Ukhozi FM legends. However, this event did not happen and no money was received by the SABC.
Julie Mbambo, speaking on behalf of Magic Communications, told Isolezwe newspaper that Edcon did give them sponsorship amounting to a total of R1.8 million. Mbambo said initially, Edcon gave them R600 000 to organize the above-mentioned event. Issues started when their company asked Ukhozi FM to support the event. The station’s management did not want to associate itself with it, and so it never happened. They then requested permission from Edcon to use the money to visit a school Mr Magic used to attend at Showe. This event took place and was also attended by Bonga Mpanza.
Later, Edcon sponsored Magic Communications with R1.2 million to help them organize the Magic Tour, an annual event where Mr Magic, accompanied by local artists, visits tertiary institutions to entertain and motivate students. Mbambo said that’s the only money Magic Communications received from Edcon and believes is what landed Mr Magic in hot water.
Affiliation with the ANC
As mentioned above, Mr Magic’s association with the ANC doesn’t seem to be what cost him his job. Last week it was rumoured that he was on the ANC’s parliamentary candidate list. He also confused us by expressing his support for the ruling party on Twitter. We thought he had been offered a position within the ANC. However, this is not the case. He told Ilanga newspaper that he is not on the candidate list of any political party and when he is on air he leaves everything behind and focus on being a Dj.
Mr Magic still doesn’t know who terminated his contract between the SABC and Ukhozi FM. The contract termination letter has an SABC sign and Bonga Mpanza’s signature.
The Communication Workers Union of KwaZulu-Natal is not happy with the way Mr Magic was dismissed and wants to overturn the SABC/Ukhozi FM’s decision to fire him. It believes that the right procedures were not followed. However, the SABC maintains that the right procedures were followed and says Mr Magic may take the matter to the CCMA if he feels that he was dismissed unfairly.
Currently, Mr Magic works as a tv presenter and motivational speaker. His show, S’funukwazi, airs on Thursdays from 18:30 to 19:00 on Mzansi Magic. Although some listeners have come to terms with his departure from Ukhozi FM, millions of his fans want him to be reinstated. Mr Magic said his dismissal came as a shock to him. He didn’t see it coming. He said he loves Ukhozi FM and would take his job back if he was given another chance. If the Communication Workers Union manages to overturn his dismissal, perhaps Mr Magic will be heard on air again in future.