Sphiwe Mkhize was appointed a senior producer of the daily midday current affairs show, Sidemba Zemini, at Ikwekwezi FM in Hatfield, Tshwane, on October 1.
Her duties include brainstorming story ideas, as well as compiling and voicing packaged stories on air. Irate workers, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals, told The Citizen they were against the appointment because Mkhize “cannot write and speak Ndebele fluently”.
The workers said several Ndebele producers and newsreaders applied for the same position when it was advertised in July. “We are worried she will continue eroding the standard of our language and culture,” said one newsreader.
“Sphiwe is not Ndebele … she speaks Setswana, even here in the newsroom. “We have been helping her with translations and pronouncement of Ndebele words while working as a reporter,”Mkhize yesterday would neither deny nor confirm whether she was fluent in Ndebele.
She insisted she was Ndebele and that her real surname was Msiza. Asked why she was using the Mkhize surname instead of Msiza, she said: “I don’t feel comfortable commenting.”
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said Mkhize satisfied all the requirements for the position.