Free State Community Radio Station shut for 'not paying rent'

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A popular Free State community radio station has been forced off the airwaves after the sheriff locked down its offices.

Mosupatsela FM, which broadcasts from Botshabelo near Bloemfontein and has a reported listenership of 200000, owes its landlord DMN Family Trust rent.

The station’s offices were locked last week by the sheriff after the station defaulted on its monthly R8000 rent.

Station manager Sello Mosala said items such as sofas and computers were seized by the sheriff.

The case was postponed in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court yesterday.

Magistrate Letlhogonolo Moeng will hear final arguments today before ruling on whether the station should be moved out of the building at the Botshabelo shopping complex or not.

Mosala admitted at some point they owed money to DMN Family Trust, but insisted they have since paid all the money.

Sowetan has seen proof of payment made to DMN Family Trust. On March 26, R8300 was paid and then on April 19, R16000.

On May 11, another R16000 was paid, bringing the total amount to R40300.

Asked why they defaulted on their payments, Mosala said: “We rely completely on advertising as we do not get any subsidy from government. Without advertising, it gets difficult. It was the case during that period because we were not getting enough advertising.”

A representative of DMN Family Trust, who identified himself as Justin, but refused to give his full name, declined to comment

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