Phat Joe loses out
Labour Court finds Kaya FM was within its rights to fire him.
Radio station Kaya FM fired controversial motormouth DJ Phat Joe for making listeners eat cat food, drink his urine and “making a frivolous prediction” that President Jacob Zuma would be raped.
Details of the fallout between Phat Joe – real name Majota Khambule – and the Gauteng-based radio station have emerged in the Labour Court in Johannesburg.
Judge Robert Lagrange declared Khambule an independent contractor, which means it’s unlikely he’ll be able to claim his dismissal was unfair.
Khambule turned to the Labour Court in a bid to overturn a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruling.
Kaya FM successfully argued before the CCMA in February 2010 that Khambule was an independent contractor, not an employee.
The station hired his company, Njabulo Communitech, which submitted invoices on his behalf.
When Khambule was sacked in October 2009, Kaya FM said it was because he had made derogatory remarks about athlete Caster Semenya.
But his court application revealed a long list of complaints against him.
He alleged in the application that the station was afraid of losing up to R10 million in government advertising.
His dismissal was preceded in January 2009 by a warning from then content manager Neil Johnson about Khambule’s “gratuitous smut, sexual innuendo and partisan politicking”.
The station also accused Khambule of breaching broadcasting legislation by running competitions in which contestants were made to eat cat food and drink his urine on air.
The DJ angered his bosses by predicting in early 2009 that Zuma would be raped.
In court, it emerged the station gave the DJ use of a furnished apartment in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, for which he did not have to pay rent.
The station also gave him free use of a Cadillac.
When he joined Cape Town-based Heart 104.9 FM, he refused to return the Cadillac and Kaya FM bosses laid charges against him.
The charges were withdrawn after Khambule returned the car.
This week, Khambule said he would decide whether or not to appeal the Labour Court’s ruling after meeting his lawyers.
“I haven’t thought about it,” he told City Press.
A career of controversy
Phat Joe started his radio career at Radio Bop in 1995, then moved on to YFM in 1997. He spent three years at the station, both as a presenter and an executive.
It was reported at the time that he butted heads with station management because he demanded a bigger salary, although YFM publicly denied this, saying the DJ merely wanted to spread his wings.
While working at YFM, Phat Joe also had a talk show on e.tv. But he left the TV station in 2001 with an angry parting shot – he said working there was like “being in Afghanistan being run by the Taliban”.
Next came Metro FM and a show on SABC.
His stay at Metro was brief and the SABC show was canned – but he’s mended fences there and now co-presents SABC1’s The Real Goboza.
After his tumultuous relationship with Kaya, Phat Joe headed to Cape Town and joined Heart 104.9 FM.
He quit Heart in October last year, saying he wanted to pursue other interests.