South African TV and radio presenter Unathi Nkayi committed a career hara-kiri when she refused to apologize to her former colleague Sizwe Dhlomo for “falsely accusing” him of hurling profanities at her in the studio of the Gauteng-based radio station last year.
This despite being instructed to extend an olive branch to Dhlomo by the station’s human resource head, Bhekiwe Khumalo, after the station’s internal investigations exonerated Dhlomo of any wrongdoing.
The startling details, which contradict Nkayi’s claims that she was pink-slipped even after she apologized to Dhlomo for wrongly accusing him of insulting her, are contained in Kaya FM’s application to oppose the multi-million lawsuit she filed in the Joburg High Court earlier this year.
Nkayi is demanding R1.6-million from Kaya FM for unfair dismissal.
In the papers, which the publication has seen, Kaya FM said Nkayi made misrepresentations regarding violence, abuse, and language that had resulted in causing anxiety among the colleagues and employees of the station.
“… The plaintiff persisted in her misrepresentation of events of 18 October 2021 in order to accuse Mr Dhlomo of violence, abuse, and uttering profanities to and directed at the plaintiff,” read the papers.
The station supported its case by attaching an email in which Nkayi made a false accusation against Dhlomo.
The email, which she sent to Khumalo after her alleged altercation with Dhlomo reads in parts: “Yesterday (sic) during the crossover of my show to Kaya Drive with Sizwe, Sizwe swore at me and was extremely aggressive towards me for pointing out that he is always late to take over the desk for his show. His immediate rhetoric was ‘just f@#kn leave then just f@#n leave’ shouting this across the room in front of Keneilwe, Tyrolese, and Sandile. This behaviour is unprofessional, unacceptable, and abusive.”
When the station conducted investigations, Dhlomo provided it with an audio from the station which exposed Nkayi’s shameful lies.
Khumalo wrote an email to Nkayi stating they were disappointed with her falsehood against Dhlomo.
“Having listened to the audio from the studio recording, it is apparent that no profanities were used by Mr Dhlomo during the engagement with you. What was in addition unequivocal from the audio, was the uttering of the word “fuck” prior to the news and at the culmination of your argument with Mr Dhlomo. Premised on the aforementioned, the business cannot take any action against Mr Dhlomo.
“Now given the aforementioned findings, you are requested to tender a written apology to Mr Dhlomo within five days hereof, failing which the business will be compelled to consider other matters, due to your false allegations, which constitute a breach of your contract,” read the letter.
Nkayi promised to tender an apology but had not done so after the time-line lapsed. She only sent her apology to human resource and copiedDhlomo.
This prompted the station to remove her from the show, saying her email was non-compliant with the Kaya’s unequivocal instruction and reminded her to apologize to Dhlomo in an email sent to her on October 29, 2021. Khumalo also stated that Dhlomo has also filed a formal complaint against her and required her to respond comprehensively.
In her response, Nkayi said she couldn’t meet the deadline to tender the apology because she was away and promised to apologize to him immediately.
She later sent an email to Dhlomo, apologizing for saying that he swore at her instead of asking for forgiveness for lying that he insulted her.
The apology reads: “I am sorry I said you swore at me in the studio when I was asking you to stop taking up my time daily.”
Her apparent refusal to apologize for her false accusation against Dhlomo together with his formal complaint proved to be the end of her career at the station.
This after Dhlomo made clear in his letter of complaint, which we have seen, that he wanted nothing to do with her.
“I don’t report to Unathi, neither is she my senior. She is not entitled to reprimand me in any way, much less in front of my colleagues. I have it on email that Unathi accused me of verbally abusing her. This is an allegation that I don’t take lightly and now it has been proven to be untrue, I would like decisive action to be taken against her and these false allegations to be met with the contempt they deserve.
“Had I not had the presence of mind to recommend that you pull the studio recording in order to corroborate my version of events, my reputation could have suffered irreparable damage as a result of these malicious and deliberate lies.
“I also want to put on record that I will no longer be interacting with Unathi directly without the presence of a senior manager.
After taking a decision to terminate her contract, Kaya FM asked her to submit representation on why the station should not do so.
Nkayi replied in audio that Dhlomo submitted to demolish her false claims constituted an invasion of her privacy because it was a secretly recorded without her wconsent.
She also said Dhlomo had previously broadcast on-air a joke about her failed marriage to Thomas Msengana and no action was taken against him despite filing a grievance.
She said there was no justification for Kaya FM to punish her for mistakenly saying Dhlomo used profanities during their altercation.
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