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Mounting debt threatens MoAfrika

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — MoAfrika FM might soon be stopped from broadcasting because it owes the Ministry of Communication a staggering M200 000 in frequency rental fees, the Sunday Express can reveal.

According to the ministry’s chief engineer, Motlatsi Monyane, MoAfrika’s debt has been mounting for the past two years.

According to broadcasting regulations the station is supposed to pay monthly frequency rental fees for each tower on which they have their antennas.

The monthly rent for each site is M3 000 per 1 000 watts and MoAfrika is connected on four transmitters.

“MoAfrika is connected on four sites of Maseru’s Lancers Gap, Mafeteng’s Likhoele, Leribe’s Chafo and Thaba-Tseka’s Mokhoabong towers,” Monyane told the Sunday Express.

“They pay a total of M12 000 per month but they have not been able to settle their frequency rental fees for the past two years, owing over M200 000 to the ministry.”

Monyane said MoAfrika was supposed to have been shut down a long time ago but “we have decided to give them a grace period to allow them to find ways of raising enough funds to settle their debts.”

“We are supposed to shut them down within 30 days after missing their monthly payments,” he said.

He said he will only shut the station down if the ministry’s principal secretary ordered him to do so.

“I will take action if my boss orders me to, but in the meantime it will continue broadcasting,” he added.

Monyane said a few months ago the ministry wrote MoAfrika a memo reminding the station of its outstanding balance.

“We took a stand of reminding them of their debt but we have not received any reply,” he said.

“The letter stated that if there were any mistakes and they have settled their payments, the station should provide receipts as proof but MoAfrika has not returned to the ministry.”

He said last month MoAfrika only paid M9 000.

MoAfrika’s chief executive officer ‘Maclain Chere Ramainoane confirmed receipt of the letter from the ministry but denied that the station owed that much.

“We did receive a letter three months ago that alleged we owe the ministry money but according to my knowledge, MoAfrika is not behind with its rental payments so I queried the letter,” Ramainoane said.

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