Windhoek-Both the acting station manager at Base FM in Katutura, Jehoiackim Kateve, and the newly elected chairperson of the station’s board of trustees, Pendapala Nakathingo, have vowed to turn around the fortunes of the financially troubled community radio station.
The two made the remarks following the conclusion of the station’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) – the first in 22 years – over the past weekend. At the event community members elected a new board of trustees for the station, which includes individuals from all walks of life.
These are businessman Kennedy Sudamo, corporate governance expert Johanna Kaukola, radio personality June Shimuoshili, community activist Abner Niilonga and musician Lownan Nangombe. The AGM also appointed Nakathingo and Djaupyu Siteketa without election.
Another seat on the board was reserved for a representative of Khomas Regional Council.
Visibly elated by his ascension to the hot seat, after serving the station as news and current affairs producer for more than ten years, Kateve expressed his sincere gratitude to the station’s new management team for having “weathered the storm during turbulent times”.
Queried as to what the community can expect from the station during his term of office, Kateve did not mince his words when he said: “Base FM will never be off-air again. My team and I will do our utmost best to ensure that the little income that we generate is channelled in the right direction, so as to ensure the smooth running of the station,” he said.
The priority budget lines, according to Kateve, include rental payments for the premises, as well as the transmitters, payment of municipal services, as well as employees’ salaries. “The current management recognises that happy employees translate into a healthier bottomline for any entity – be it corporate or community,” Kateve said.
“As such, we have made it a priority to ensure that all our employees will receive their payments on time and in full by all means. This includes the payment of the monies owed to some employees by the previous dispensation.”
Kateve also revealed that the salaries of the existing employees are currently being reviewed, so as to adjust them to a “reasonable” scale in the face of an economic downturn and inflation that have impacted on not only the corporate world but more so on the working class.
“There is a difference between volunteerism and exploitation. Paying people so-called salaries that only amount to half of the taxi fare to and from work should be defined as exploitation,” Kateve stressed.
He further thanked outgoing chairman of the Base FM board Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro for having steered the board, almost singlehandedly, for over a decade during which he did not claim any payment for his work.
Matundu-Tjiparuro, who during the AGM was repeatedly asked by the delegates if he would stand for re-election, confirmed his unwillingness to go for another term.
“I will avail myself to be at the service of the new board, should they require assistance. That’s as far as I would like my involvement in the station to be. I’m not standing for re-election,” Matundu-Tjiparuro said.
On his part, Nakathingo promised the new management the full cooperation of his board. “I have complete confidence in the team and it is imperative that they all pull in the same direction in order to obtain the desired results,” he said.
Nakathingo observed that over the past couple of months the station’s staff were deeply divided, something that needs to be remedied. High on his agenda will be the relentless drive for Base FM to win the trust of the community, as well as the corporate world and the political decision-makers.